Like most of the towns in India, Varanasi too is an unplanned town with heaps of pollution and associated hazards. But what makes it different from the rest of the towns in India is its historical background of being the most ancient city, its spiritual connection, river Ganga and above all the status of the town as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. Consequently, Varanasi is drawing huge attention.
Varanasi is considered to be an eternal city of the supreme Lord Shiva. It is also known as the Hindus Kasha (meaning brightness). Apart from everything, the cyclic view of life and death is obvious and tangible at Varanasi and its ghats. The city situated on the west side of river Ganga symbolizes the setting sun and the city’s connection with death because of cremation centres. The city on the east side symbolizes life and rebirth. Morning and evening prayers provide spectacular view.
The cultural capital
Combining everything, PM wants to develop Varanasi as a national hub for culture and heritage in India. Even during his election campaigns Modi stated the big plans for Varanasi. He at that time promised to change the town into the intellectual capital of the country. To achieve this many missions have been planned and one of these is mission ‘Kashi Vision’. The team to accomplish the task comprised of top professionals including Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and professionals at Google. The team will work on the beautification, mapping and finding and beautifying hot tourism spots in and around Varanasi.
More and more employment opportunities are required for the progress and development of any city, town or nation. Working on the same lines and with same motive, new jobs will be generated by reviving the cottage, handicraft and handloom industries in Varanasi. Not only this but work to upgrade civic amenities will also be done. Apart from this, educational institutions such as the Banaras Hindu University and Sampurnanand Sanskrit University will also be given a face-lift. NGO Sulabh International has been given the task of cleaning and maintaining six of the ghats at Varanasi.
The Varanasi Cantonment railway station has been listed in the list of 24 railway stations across India to be upgraded. The face-lift will include the replacement of concrete floors by granite floor, modern waiting room, spruced up platforms and addition of new eateries. For the initial upgrades the government has sanctioned Rs 12.5 crore.
Along with the beautification of 84 ghats in the holy city, a proposal has been made to develop three more ghats – Lohiya, Rajnarayan and Malviya. Rs 17.7 crore has been sanctioned to revamp and maintain famous ghats along Ganga in Varanasi.
Shortly, Varanasi is also expected to get a mini Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to monitor the development work. It will consist of a committee of local people along with a senior IAS officer and other government employees. The office will also include journalists from print and TV media.
The Government has released Rs 5,000 crore to promote religious tourism in Varanasi. To accomplish the mission roads inside the town are being widened and at certain places illegal constructions have been removed.
NRI Ganga Fund
The town will also get water and sewage treatment plants. Work on garbage disposal is also going on.
Keeping all the development and transformation in mind, the BJP government in its first budget announced more than Rs 6,300 crore for ‘Namami Ganga’ plan, Rs 2037 crore for rejuvenating the river and Rs 4200 crore for developing a navigation corridor. For the development and beautification of ghats, Rs 100 crore has also been announced. To collect more funds for special projects government has announced a ‘NRI Ganga Fund’.
All looks very promising. May every city in India get such kind of attention and facelift!!!