Varanasi is said to be older than tradition and history. Mark Twain once quoted, “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” Ghats on the banks of River Ganga are perhaps one of the divine spots in Kashi. Always full of pilgrims, Ganga Ghats complement the notion of holiness.
Recently the Ministry of Power, under the National initiative of promoting LED based efficient lighting, decided to replace all conventional lights in eighty four Ghats of Varanasi with LED lights. Objectives were to enhance illumination of the Ghats, reduce energy consumption and spread awareness amongst general public on the use of efficient LED lights.
On 9th of June, Shri Piyush Goyal dedicated the project and set a deadline of three months for the talk to be completely implemented. But in a time span of just three weeks only, the Ghats of Varanasi turned brighter than they were ever before. From Assi Ghat to Dashashwamedh Ghat, Prayag Ghat to Prabhu Ghat, every single of the eighty four Ghats glowed with LED lights instead of conventional incandescent lights.
Varanasi Municipal Corporation installed High Mast and Mini Mast lightings and street lights throughout all the Ghats on the Ganga banks. As a result of the initiative, Varanasi Ghats have now become more energy efficient. A study conducted by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) shows that with incandescent lamps being replaced with LEDs, the cost would be reduced by over 70 per cent. About 1.21 million units of energy would be saved every year.
When compared with the conventional lights, the LED lights proved to be 110 per cent better at luminance level. Average illumination of LED lamps stood at 37.33 Lux. whereas conventional lamps gave our only 17.55 Lux.
Putting up the LED lights has brought down the annual energy consumption to 0.47 million units from 1.68 million units. This step further reduced the annual energy bill radically by about 30 per cent providing a monetary benefit of Rs. 1.25 crore (approx.) per year.
EESL also carried out a survey up to 50 people at both Assi Ghat and Dashashwamedh Ghat to know the opinion of the public regarding the LED lighting. The results came out to be encouraging. It was found that 100 per cent public had positive opinion regarding LED lighting compared to old incandescent conventional lighting.