VARANASI: Already facing the challenge of completing many projects worth Rs 10,000 crore before the Lok Sabha 2024 election, the officials of Varanasi will have to face testing times between January and June with the task to ensure the city’s facelift along with the arrangements for the proposed events of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and G20.
However, the officials are already in an action mode to accelerate the pace of the ongoing 38 projects worth Rs 9,625 crores and expedite the process of allocation of funds and land acquisition for the upcoming Rs 565 crore ropeway project. The officials admitted that most of the projects, especially improving condition of roads, solving traffic issues and beautification have to be completed by next five months, ahead of the two international events proposed between June and August.
Talking about the action plan for early completion of major projects, divisional commissioner Kaushal Raj Sharma told TOI that, “For upcoming international events proposed in the city in 2023, the priorities are being fixed. The work of improving roads in and around the city is on the top priority while plans for all the roads, especially those leading to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Dashaswamedh Ghat, Godowlia, Kal Bhairav, DDU Trade Facilitation Centre, Namo ,Ghat, prominent tourist sites and other routes of VIP movement, will be finalised in a week.”
On challenges like road cutting for upcoming projects including ropeway, Sharma said that work of utility shifting will be done within two months. Erection of pillars of the ropeway project on different campuses and away from main roads like Sigra-Rathyatra and Godowlia would be completed initially to avoid disturbance on the busy roads, he said. Of 30 pillars, 10 pillars will be erected on government land while 20 others on the lands of different institutions or private land.
The work of traffic improvement and load shifting from prominent roads would continue simultaneously along with the projects. Sharma said, efforts are also on to introduce water taxis in river Ganga for the convenience of people visiting Varanasi only for offering prayers at Kashi Vishwanath Temple and also to reduce traffic load from city roads. Shifting of bus stands is also in process, he added.
Most of the newly constructed buildings, including food court and tourist facility centres will be made operational before March, he said adding, 3d laser cultural projection, which were evident on the festivals like Dev Deepawali, will also become a regular feature at some ghats. Works proposed under the pro-poor tourism at Sarnath will also be completed by March end, he said.
Focus is also on ensuring timely completion of remaining work at Namo Ghat. Sharma said that second phase work of Namo Ghat are being done with an accelerated pace and is expected to complete by March end.

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