While taking his Parliamentary Constituency’s development to greater heights, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled and laid the foundation of development projects worth Rs 1,780 crore during his visit to Varanasi on Friday.
Officials with the Varanasi Development Authority (VDA), Kashi Vishwanath Dham, Smart City Varanasi, and Tourism department said the projects would be a booster for Kashi’s already booming tourism sector.
“Kashi’s development is being talked about everywhere and every visitor is going back with new energy. There is a global buzz around Kashi Vishwanath Dham, Ganga Ghat work, and the longest river cruise. More than 7 crore tourists visited Kashi in just one year. These tourists are creating new economic opportunities and employment in the city,” said PM Modi during his address, as he unveiled the projects and laid the foundation of some new projects at Sampurnanand Sanskrit University Ground, Varanasi.
Of the many projects, the ropeway project would make Kashi India’s first city to have a ropeway public transport. The estimated cost of which is about Rs 645 crore. VDA officials said that the launch of the project, would not only make Kashi, the first city in India to have ropeway public transport but will also make India, the third country in the world after Bolivia and Mexico to get it.
In Bolivia, the service labeled La Paz-El Alto Cable Car, an aerial cable car urban transit system serving the La Paz-EL Alto metropolitan area in Bolivia, was inaugurated in 2019. In Mexico, the service named Medicable which operates in Ecatepec de Morelos in Greater Mexico City was inaugurated on October 4, 2016.
Kashi ropeway project or Kashi cable car project is also said to be the foolproof solution to the traffic jams, bracketed among Kashi’s perennial problems. Abhishek Goyal, Vice-President, of VDA, the construction agency in the Kashi ropeway project, said in the first phase, the length of the entire project would be around 3.75km. It would operate from the Cantonment area to the Godowlia area in Kashi. “Initially, around 150 cable cars would be pressed into service. The cable cars would also serve as an alternative transport to the tourists, alighting at the Varanasi Junction in the Cantonment area and would ferry them to Godowlia from where they can visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple or Dashashwamedh Ghat, without affecting the city’s traffic,” officials with VDA said.
Other projects that were either unveiled or the foundation for which was laid, include a 55 MLD sewage treatment plant at Bhagwanpur under Namami Ganga Scheme, Phases 2 and 3 of the redevelopment work of Sigra Stadium, an LPG bottling plant at Isarwar village, Sewapuri to be built by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, a primary health center in Bharthara village and floating jetty with changing rooms among others.
The Prime Minister also dedicated 19 drinking water schemes under the Jal Jeevan Mission, which will benefit more than three lakh people of 63 Gram Panchayats. He also laid the foundation stone of 59 drinking water schemes under the Mission. He also dedicated an integrated pack house in Karkhiyaon for grading, sorting, and processing of fruits and vegetables. He also dedicated various projects under the Varanasi Smart City Mission.
Officials said the Kashi Vishwanath Dham said the development projects would surely take the tourism sector to another height. “It’s for the first time in history that over 7 crore tourists visited Kashi to seek blessings of Lord Shiva last year. I am sure these development projects would take Kashi’s tourism sector to greater heights,” said Sunil Kumar Verma, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham.