Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world. Over the years, different initiatives have been taken to preserve the heritage and culture of this ancient city along with equipping it with modern facilities. When Narendra Modi became the Member of Parliament (MP) from Varanasi, the development of the city got a new boost. Several projects catering to the needs of the people were inaugurated during his tenure, and several of them have been completed, and many are nearing completion.
The development of Varanasi cannot be thought about without mentioning the development of Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor project is an ambitious project undertaken to revamp the area in and around the temple. The worth of the project is about Rs 835 crore, and it is spread over nearly 5.30 lakh square feet. The renovation and restoration of public places and heritage buildings is an important step taken by the government for the betterment of the city. The four ancients Kunds— Durga-Kund, Lakshmi-Kund, Lat Bhairav-Kund, and Karim-Kund— have been renovated by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of the company.
The Trade Facilitation Centre built on an area of about 8 acres with an approximate investment of Rs 309 crore is helping in the promotion of traditional craft, handloom, and textile. It is providing a platform for the artists to showcase their talent through distinct galleries. The inauguration of the Rudraksh Convention Centre has also given the city a place for cultural and social gatherings. The Convention Centre will hold international conferences, art exhibitions, music concerts, and several other events. Moreover, the first multi-level parking of the city was inaugurated at Godowlia.
The Godowlia market is the main route for reaching various religious places in the city, and the route will reduce the problem of traffic jams and roadside parking in the densely populated Godowlia and Dashashwamedh ghat regions.
Remodelling and facelift of Varanasi Cantt, Manduadih, and Yard stations have provided passengers with improved facilities, convenience, and infrastructure.
Moreover, the Varanasi Ring Road Phase 1 and Babatpur-Varanasi Road on NH-56, inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi, will reduce travel time and provide a big relief to the people of the city. The Ring Road will allow traffic on NH-56, NH 233, and NH 29 that would reduce the amount of traffic mess in the city. On similar lines, the Babatpur Airport Road will connect Jaunpur, Sultanpur, and Lucknow. The work of Phase 2 of the Ring Road is meanwhile going in full swing.
The several projects of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) that are being carried out will enhance the connectivity of the city with the neighbouring regions. For instance, the Varanasi-Ghazipur (NH-29) highway project will connect Varanasi with the ambitious Purvanchal Expressway, and the Varanasi-Azamgarh (NH-233) will act as the connecting link between the two. The construction of four-lane Shivpur Lahartara (Phulwariya) will also decongest the city roads, particularly in the Cantt region. It includes the construction of two Railway over Bridges (ROB), one river bridge over Varuna, and a four-lane road from Shivpur to Lahartara.
Meanwhile, the Urja Ganga project of the government is expected to give piped cooking fuel to Varanasi as well as the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Orissa. Further, the Government has awarded a contract under the Namami Gange project for the renovation and restoration of various ghats at the banks of the Ganges.
Also, the associated project of Ramanna Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) with Namani Gange aims at treating the drains water before it is discharged in the Ganges. The existing capacity of treatment plants in the city was increased with the inauguration of Dinapur STP at a proposed cost of Rs 235.50 crore and Goithaha STP at Rs 119 crore. The three STPs will treat sewage water up to 50 MLD (Ramana), 140 MLD (Dinapur), and 120 MLD (Goithahan) respectively.
Moreover, the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre are providing affordable and best-in-class facilities to the patients of the Purvanchal region, neighbouring states, and the patients from countries like Nepal. The Government has invested a sum of approximately Rs 600 crore to provide efficient facilities to the people, with the best practitioners from different parts of the country. The two centres aim at providing the best healing environment that is rooted in cultural traditions.
The Modi government’s efforts are not only visible to the natives of Varanasi, but to the people who live elsewhere in the country. Meanwhile, myriad investments are in the pipeline, and more work in several areas is expected to be completed soon. And if the development goes on the way it is going, Varanasi will be counted among the best cities in the world.