5-year target to make Prime Minister’s constituency world-class, hi-tech city
Keen to rejuvenate the soul of Varanasi, the Narendra Modi government has set an ambitious plan of developing the holy city into a world-class, hi-tech city within the next five years with construction of a 12-km elevated road, a light rapid transit system covering 15 km and three new smart townships in and around the temple town.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who represents the holy city in the Lok Sabha, in December this year, would launch the ambitious plan and the strategy on implementation of all projects that are being envisaged would be ready by mid-October.
A blueprint for converting Varanasi into a world-class hi-tech city sets an ambitious target of five to seven years with facilities such as high-speed broadband internet connectivity up to 100 Mbps speed and availability of Wi-Fi in public places.
Sources told this newspaper that the blueprint for Varanasi, which is being fine-tuned by officials from Prime Minister’s Office, envisages construction of a 12-km long elevated road that connects the Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport in Babatpur with Varanasi that runs through the railway station and the iconic Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
The blueprint also envisages completing the project by the end of 2019, while it also sets aims at completing all beautification-related projects by 2017. The sources also said construction of a Metro Rail or a Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) from Andhra Pul on the Grand Trunk (GT) Road to the BHU covering a total distance of 15 km is being considered, but a decision on whether it would be a Metro or LRTS is likely to be taken in the coming weeks with a few experts suggesting that a MRTS network like Metro is not feasible in the city.
The blueprint, the sources said, also talks about constructing 3 new “Smart Townships” in and around the holy city of Varanasi with active participation from the private sector as part of the efforts to expand urbanisation and providing all urban pockets with “smart city” facilities.
The blueprint is currently being fine-tuned by officials at the Prime Minister’s Office, which will take a final view on how the projects will be implemented and the financial implications of it. The fact that PMO officials are keeping a close watch underlines the importance that Mr Modi attaches to redevelopment and rejuvenation of Varanasi.
The plans also include information technology and biotechnology parks in and around Varanasi with establishment of Research and Development (R&D) Centres in both sectors, the sources said. The blueprint also lays much stress use of technology to secure the city and provide foolproof security to its residents and tourists.
The blueprint also envisages a 24-hour waste water treatment plant and a 24-hour solid waste collection plant that would take care of the environmental concerns of the holy city.
With an aim to enhance the lives of weavers, who form a major chunk of the local population, the blueprint has proposed a Centre for Performing Arts, Design and Skill Development for weavers that would help the community members’ blend technology with their ages-old tradition.
With Varanasi being an integral and important part of Purvanchal, the government also plans to construct a Bhojpuri film city. The blueprint also talks about appointing a committee of secretaries and mission director for the project.