Tamil Nadu Government to fund Christian pilgrims to Holy Land
The Tamil Nadu Government has issued guidelines for Christian pilgrims to avail state-funded pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It announced the decision to provide financial assistance of 20,000 rupees to Christian pilgrims to undertake a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 2013. The 10-day pilgrimage can be undertaken between February and May 2013. In the first phase, 500 Christians, belonging to various religious orders, will get the financial assistance.
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An official release said 20 million rupees have been earmarked for two years for the purpose and the government has appointed a committee headed by labor minister T. M. Chellapandian to oversee the successful implementation of the scheme. The subsidy will cover 500 Christians every year and the pilgrimage would begin and end in Chennai. Four members of a family can undertake the trip and preference would be given to those who are 70 years of age.
The pilgrims would be shortlisted district-wise on a lot system. Those selected for undertaking the pilgrimage should have passports valid for one year. They should be medically and physically fit to undertake the journey, the release said.