PUDUCHERRY: In a unique pilgrimage, 22 people, mostly senior citizens, travelled over 2000 kilometres from Varanasi to reach Puducherry today. On March 19 the group including 17 women from Puducherry's Shakti Nagar had travelled to Varanasi for the Kasi pilgrimage, said District Collector T Arun.
They were stuck following the imposition of lockdown before finally making their way back home today. On arrival around 4 pm, they were screened and at Gorimedu border and later home quarantined.
Though the group was provided accommodation and food in the hotel they had checked in by the Varanasi district administration following the lockdown, they were unable to have the north Indian cuisine for long. Understanding this problem, Puducherry District Collector arranged for south Indian food through the South India Sub-Collector of Varanasi Manikandan, said Puducherry Revenue Officer Senthil Kumar, who had been coordinating their stay and travel.
After Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) permitted interstate travel, the District Collector coordinated with his counter part in Varanasi and got e-pass for the group in the first batch itself, enabling the return journey via road. However, with just one driver on board, the bus had to be stopped several times and was halted at all state borders for clearance.
In Renigunta in Chittor District of Andhra Pradesh, the bus remained halted for half a day, said Senthil Kumar. After intervention by Puducherry District Collector, the formalities were completed and the bus resumed its journey. They were also halted in Thiruvallur for some time by the authorities.
Ravi one of the returnees said they were not permitted to come out of the bus and had to sleep inside the vehicle for four days. For food, they had the chapattis and tamarind rice which they carried from Varanasi. They were provided food by the state authorities at Thiruvallur after coming to know that they were all hungry.