Monday, December 4, 2023

Modi’s dream Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project comes to life

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project in Varanasi, to the people of the country on December 13. The foundation stone of the corridor was laid on March 8, 2019.

The project is the vision of PM Modi to restore the ancient glory of Kashi and is worth approximately Rs 800 crore.

Explaining the project, architect Bimal Patel said that he got a one-line brief from the Prime Minister which was that the project should make the heart happy. “Ek Aisa Rasta Banao Ke Mann Prafullit Ho Jaye.”

“Right from making all key stretches on the corridor disabled-friendly to improving the design of the main stretch, the PM gave inputs for the project right from the beginning,” Patel said. 

According to Patel, it was originally Mahatma Gandhi who first thought of clearing the urban jungle around the ancient Kashi Vishwanath temple, the presiding deity of the city of Varanasi more than a century ago in 1916 while on a visit to the temple town. 

City’s divisional commissioner Deepak Aggarwal informed that the grand Kashi Vishwanath Corridor will connect the Ganga river and the famous and ancient Kashi Vishwanath temple. Built over a sprawling area of 5,000 hectares, the corridor has decongested the temple complex, which was earlier surrounded by buildings on three sides. He said the demolition of those buildings led to the recovery of at least 40 very ancient temples which  will be preserved and opened to the public.

The entire complex would now house 23 structures full of modern amenities like a tourist information centre, a small guest house, a food court, multipurpose halls to carry religious ceremonies, security arrangements, locker rooms, rest areas and restrooms to make a visit to the temple a wholesome spiritual experience. 

Aggarwal also highlighted that while the project initially looked like an impossible thing, considering the dense structure of the temple premises, “But, with the organised and dedicated efforts of both the Centre and the state governments, despite two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire process is being completed in record time with utmost transparency.” 

The project was taken forward on a war-footing basis right from getting the properties vacated to compensating the owners and the execution of the project was done in the most transparent manner, as a result of which it faced no litigations. 

“In all 314 properties were purchased by paying Rs 390 crores to owners and those occupying them, including 37 properties that were with custodians in the name of various gods. A total of 1,400 settlers, encroachers, squatters, vendors, and shopkeepers have been rehabilitated elsewhere at a cost of about Rs 70 crores (included in Rs 390 crores).”

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