Controversy Over Religious Encroachment In Varanasi

PM Modi’s Rs 600 crore project to link two city landmarks of Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Ganga ghat through a corridor has raised opposition.

Jessica David

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The Rs 600 crore project in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi that seeks to build a dedicated corridor between the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the ghats along the river Ganga has run into lots of opposition from the residents of the city’s landmark narrow bylanes. As many as 166 homes have been earmarked for demolition to make way for the corridor. Local residents say that the project will achieve nothing except destroying the city’s rich heritage. Many of the homes being targeted for demolition house temples and idols that should be preserved.

The government says proper rehabilitation plans are in place and everything will be done through a consensus. In Varanasi, one of India’s holiest cities, news of an ambitious Rs 600 crore plan to link the two city landmarks of the iconic Ganga ghat and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, through an easily accessible 400-metre long corridor has raised loads of controversy. Currently, pilgrims including the so-called VIPs can only approach the temple from the ghats through narrow congested bylanes.

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