Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal flagged off the first Tirth Yatra train from Amritsar Railway station to Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib, Nanded on Friday.
Speaking on the occasion, Sukhbir Singh Badal said, “Mukh Mantri Tirath Yatra Yojana is yet another attempt of the Punjab government to preserve and promote the majestic culture and royal heritage of Punjab.”
The train comprising of 18 coaches can accommodate 1,080 people. The train will return on January 6 and the pilgrims will be provided free food, accommodation, transportation, boarding and lodging facilities.
Punjab Welfare Minister Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, along with his family members, also boarded the train.
Under the plan, about 1000 persons from each of the 117 constituencies have been selected for the pilgrimage. Respective Deputy Commissioners have screened and selected the beneficiaries for the scheme. Over Rs 180 crore has been earmarked for the scheme.
Seven more such trains will ply for Nanded Sahib from Maur (Bathinda), Sri Anandpur Sahib, Tarn Taran, Patiala, Batala (Gurdaspur), Sri Muktsar Sahib and Beas this month.
Apart from the trains to the famous Sikh pilgrimage, two trains to Varanasi from Ludhiana and Jalandhar and one to Ajmer Shariff from Malerkotla will also start in January.
“Eleven more Tirth Yatra trains will start in January and February under this scheme. Apart from this, Tirath Yatra trains to Katra for Maa Vaishno Devi and to Chennai for Basilica San Thome are also in the offing. Free buses will also ply under this scheme from January 4 for Salasar (Rajasthan) and Chintpurni (HP),” said Sukhbir.