'Transforming An Ancient City Comes With Unique Challenges’
With a proposed investment to the tune of Rs.20,000 crore, Varanasi Smart City, the high profile constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is all set to transform itself from the sleepy heritage city to a modern city with all modern infrastructure.
“Transforming an ancient city into a modern one comes with its own unique challenges. But special care is being taken to preserve Varanasi's ancient heritage, its amalgamative culture while ensuring that it rivals cities of the future in terms of infrastructure and facilities,” Suresh Kumar Khanna Urban Development Minister, Uttar Pradesh said.
“Swachhta being the motive, Uttar Pradesh government is taking all possible steps to ensure Varanasi becomes clean and PM Modi’s vision of a cleaner India becomes possible”, Khanna said at the BW Businessworld Smart Cities Conclave 2017.
The Conclave saw the presence of the all the prominent government officials, smart city authorities and private players and foreign dignitaries from Japan, who are working with the centre to transform the infrastructure of the city.
“The biggest outcome of last month’s summit for Varanasi is the approval for the construction of Varanasi International Cooperation and Convention Centre to hold international conferences and exhibitions will enable big events for investments and culture exchange,” said Kenko Sone, Minister, Economic and Development, Embassy of Japan.
Ever since the city hosted Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in 2015, Japan is a major partner in the city's re-development. A Rs.737 crore scheme called Sanyojit Kashi, under the central government's smart city plan, was launched to improve public transport and put a traffic management plan in place.
The Smart Cities Mission Varanasi proposes beautification and cleaning of ancient ghats to Transportation and improving traffic. Special emphasis is on creating IT infrastructure, setting a Startup hub eGovernance and many more.
Urban infrastructure schemes ranging from a metro rail, a multi-modal terminal, logistics parks, waterways, even a pod taxi project to ease congestion on the city's streets are all on the cards.
Proposed investments range from a staggering Rs 20,000 crore for the metro rail system to Rs 170 crore for the multi-modal transport terminal and Rs 1,000 crore for a so-called freight village. Other projects on the anvil include a Rs 300 crore railway station redevelopment one, a Rs 153 crore sewage treatment plant, a Rs 100 crore pod taxi project.