Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai announced the approval of an annual free train travel scheme for devotees visiting the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya.

The BJP-led Chhattisgarh government is set to implement the scheme in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment made during the 2023 assembly polls.

The Chhattisgarh Tourism Board will oversee the annually free train travel initiative, with the state tourism department allocating a necessary budget for its execution.

A committee, led by collectors, will select pilgrims eligible for the scheme, focusing on fit individuals aged between 18 and 75, giving priority to those above 55 in the initial phase.

Approximately 20,000 people will be taken on a yearly pilgrimage to Ayodhya by train, with boarding stations at Raipur, Durg, Raigarh, and Ambikapur for the 900-km journey.

The pilgrimage includes a stopover at Varanasi, allowing devotees to visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple and attend the Ganga Aarti.

An MoU will be signed with the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to implement the scheme, while a weekly special train will be arranged for pilgrims heading to Ayodhya.

Previously, the state government declared January 22 as a dry day statewide, aligning with the consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, emphasizing the cultural significance of the event.