3 Elderly Women From Odisha On Pilgrimage To Tirupati Under Govt Scheme Go Missing

Bhubaneswar: Three elderly women from Odisha, who were on a pilgrimage to Tirupati under the Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana (BNTYY) of the state government, have reportedly gone missing.

The missing senior citizens have been identified as Gitanjali Rout from Jayadev panchayat in Balianta block and Rani Dei from Chilika block in Khurda district and Basanti Malla of Bharatpur in Kendrapada district.

A group of senior citizens from different districts of Odisha had set out on a pilgrimage to Tirupati and Vellore on February 7. It was facilitated by the Odisha Tourism Department under BNTYY. The three elderly women reportedly went missing after having the darshan of Lord Venkateswara in Tirupati while the other pilgrims will be arriving in Cuttack on Tuesday.

Kendrapada Tourism Officer Himalay Tripathi informed the media that the search is on and two of the six officers escorting the senior citizens are still in Tirupati looking for the missing women. Two IRCTC officials are assisting them in the search.

Kin of the missing senior citizens alleged that the officials accompanying them should have been more careful and alert while taking them to the temple. “Efficient staff should have accompanied them,” said missing Basanti Malla’s son. His mother was accompanied by other people from the village on the pilgrimage who are now on their way back home.

“On February 9, I received a call from an official stating that my mother was missing and they were unable to trace her. Even after two days when they could not find her, we met Sub-Collector Pitambar Samal, ADM Nilu Mohapatra and District Collector Suryavanshi Mayur Vikas. They assured us that within a day they would find her. But it has been four days and they have not traced her. When I had an altercation with the officials on Monday, we were asked to send two people from our village to Tirupati. My brother and a neighbour have left for Tirupati,” said Malla’s son.

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