BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Thursday decided to launch yet another scheme to send senior citizens of the State on pilgrimage free of cost both in and outside the State.
This was decided in principle at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Secretariat here. The Tourism Department will be the nodal department for implementation of the scheme. Senior citizens above 60 years irrespective of religion can avail benefit from scheme to be fully sponsored by the State Government. However, retired Government employees and those paying income tax would not be eligible.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed between Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for implementation of the scheme. The tours will be arranged through trains and buses.
Arrangements for meals, accommodation and travel will be made by IRCTC for those availing the scheme. A committee headed by Chief Secretary GC Pati will be constituted for identification of beneficiaries under the scheme. Committees headed by district collectors will be formed at the district-level.
Minister of State for Tourism Ashok Panda, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) R Balakrishnan and senior officials attended the meeting.