BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha tourism department has collaborated with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to facilitate availing trains for senior citizens in the state to help them travel to well-known pilgrimage sites across the country.
Odisha tourism would offer special pilgrimage packages for senior citizens in the state, which is likely to start operating from July 1 onwards under a special scheme.
Officials of the tourism department are now working on the modalities of the scheme including the norms for selecting pilgrims, the basic eligibility criteria, routes and other related issues.
The train services are likely to start from July. The whole set of guidelines for the scheme is likely to be made public in the next few days.
“The department has been working on the modalities of the programme that will be offered by the Odisha tourism department in collaboration with IRCTC. The final, clear guidelines and all the specific details will be available in the next 15 days,” said UK Pati, deputy director of Odisha Tourism.
According to the discussions already held, IRCTC will be responsible for ferrying the passengers to the trains and also for taking them to different pilgrimage sites in the min-
Officials of tourism dept are currently working on modalities of the scheme, norms for selecting pilgrims, basic eligibility criteria, routes and other related issues.
“We are likely to take care of the travel of the pilgrims, management of their visits to the pilgrimage sites and other related matters. However, the final responsibilities will be clear after we receive an official communication from the state tourism department,” said an IRCTC official.
Sources in the tourism department said it had been decided that pre-defined routes will be prepared for different regions of the state.
The trains leaving from the southern revenue division of Odisha are likely to get offers to visit sites like Rameswaram and other nearby destinations, while trains leaving from the northern revenue division, which includes Sambalpur district, will cover places like Haridwar and Hrishikesh, they said.
Trains starting from the central districts of the state may take pilgrims to Varanasi and Gaya under the special scheme, they added.