Two weeks after signing a historic Kashi-Kyoto pact with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has officially kicked off a plan to redevelop Varanasi with Japan’s help, and model it along the lines of heritage city Kyoto.
Modi is said to have had discussions with former governor Jagmohan, wo may be leading the effort to develop the ancient city. Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is one of the holiest cities in the Hindu way of life, and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Varanasi is a popular pilgrimage and tourist spot and receives millions of devotees every year. However, woeful infrastructure besides an overburdened city make the trip a very forgettable one.
Modi is all set to change that by turning Varanasi into a “smart city.” Plans are afoot to beautify the Ganga riverbank, to create a botanical garden, a heritage walk and also improved waste water and garbage treatment plants and a film city. The city will be divided into four categories, based on the four Vedas – the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharvana Veda.
The model for blending new and old will come from Kyoto, which is over 1500 years old and is well-known for its aesthetic blend of old, new, ancient and modern. “The city will be beautified on the lines of a planned metro city,” said an official of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Uttar Pradesh state BJP party spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, “We all know that India and Japan have signed a pact to develop Varanasi on the lines of Kyoto. It will be developed as a confluence of heritage and modernity. Modi is not just the prime minister but he is also an MP who is concerned about his constituency.”
Modi has also announced a billion dollar clean Ganga plan to purify the river which has become a dumping ground for chemical and industrial waste.