April 23, 2019

Modern infrastructure for an ancient city

Varanasi has been a seat of ancient learning from thousand of years. Being the holiest Hindu city, on the banks of holy Ganga, it attracts many pilgrims from across the country every year. The city is on the bucket list of almost every international tourist who comes to India. They come here to unravel the meaning of life, to seek solace or to study ancient scriptures among other reasons. The city is a budding centre of trade for areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Varanasi needs modern infrastructure, a structural transformation in the infrastructure, which is sustainable in the long run and is in line with its ancient origins.

In 2014, when PM Modi was elected as the MP of Varanasi, he had remarked,

“There’s a lot of work that god has put me on this earth for. A lot of it is dirty work, but I’m up to the task."

Since then, from world class roads to express trains, from underground cabling to waste treatment plants, from a cultural convention center to modern traffic control, from a multimodal terminal to a container depot for perishables, Varanasi has witnessed landmark revolution in infrastructure in the last five years.

If one looks at the Ghats of Kashi, one can see a phenomenal transformation of Ghats that has ensured there is no littering and garbage. The glittering lighting of Ghats, clean streets and crossings, paintings on the walls and the construction of Kashi Vishwanath Dham have shown that Kashi is progressing, keeping its ancient heritage alive.

A ring road bypassing the city was a demand of the city from the longest time. PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the Ring Road and Phase-1 was completed in November 2018. With this development, traffic movement across the city will be much easier, helping decongestion of roads by diverting a lot of heavy vehicular traffic around the city rather than through it.

Varanasi has a very busy airport naturally due to the movement of pilgrims and tourists in and out of the city. A congestion-free road connecting the city with the airport was not only felt as a need but also as a matter of prestige for the city. The 17 plus kilometre long airport road developed under the tenure of PM Narendra Modi, is called the Gateway of Varanasi today. It has ensured an easy way to travel to and from the airport.

As we know, India had never tapped its inland waterways for container movement but this had to change. This milestone was achieved by the Modi government. Varanasi was at the centre of this historic moment for the nation. The development of the first multimodal terminal on an inland waterway in Varanasi was a matter of pride for the city. PM Narendra Modi received the first container vessel on the river ganga in November last year

PM Narendra Modi’s vision is to develop Varanasi as the new centre of cancer treatment, so that patients do not have to go a long distance to other cities for treatment. He laid the foundation of two dedicated cancer hospitals in Varanasi. Also, IMS BHU was accorded AIIMS like status, which will further improve the health facilities in the hospital. This is not only impacts the lives of people in Varanasi, but also the people of the rest of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Kashi is called the city of Shiva and the development of The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor will be a boon to lakh of devotees of Shiva, who can make use of the direct link being developed between the temple and Ganga Ghat. Apart from the direct link, the temple will have more space to accommodate devotees.

Kashi, a thriving and busy city, generates a lot of waste and sewage. PM Narendra Modi inaugurated a large sewage infrastructure project. A 140 million litre per day (MLD) sewage treatment plant (STP) at Dinapur will make the city get rid of the large waste generated and would further curb river pollution.

The last five years have been momentous in the history of Kashi. Not only has the city given India one of its most popular prime ministers ever, but it has also witnessed the rapid development that a good MP can bring to it. Varanasi as a city has seen large scale transformation in infrastructure and it is clear that PM Narendra Modi had a key role to play in the development of the timeless city.