There was gigantic rush at the Durgapura railway station where around 737 senior citizens, who had been selected for the maiden run of ‘pilgrimage train’, had gathered. They were welcomed by officials of the Devasthan department. At 4pm, chief minister Ashok Gehlot flagged off the first train offering free trip, boarding, lodging and meals for the elderly couples.
The chief minister in his budget 2013-14 had proposed free pilgrimage for senior citizens. The first train flagged off by him will take the passengers to Rameshwaram. Of the 997 passengers, the train had 737 from Jaipur, 127 from Kota city, while 133 booked from Ramganj Mandi.
“It is a trip of around 8 days in which we will provide free 3-star accommodation, luxury buses and three meals to the passengers,” said Rohitash, chief regional manager, IRCTC, Jaipur. Usually those who board a train with a confirmed ticket arrive at the station minutes before the train’s departure, but the passengers chosen by Devasthan department were asked to report at 11 am to collect their tickets etc. Despite some hiccups, like a jam-packed railway station, the senior citizens were happy with the state government’s new “gift”.
“We have been on various such trips which were organized by our children. This time is has been organized by the state government. What is important is the fact that the entire train comprises of people of our agegroup,” said an elated Vishnu Agarwal who was travelling with his wife Premlata. TNN