PM chairs review meeting on various development projects in Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a review meeting through Video Conferencing on various development projects which are undertaken in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The presentation also highlighted the progress made in the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir complex by using a drone video of the lay out. During the meeting, the efforts undertaken on effective management of COVID were also discussed.

Reviewing the progress of Kashi Vishwanath Dham Project, the Prime Minister directed that all such old temples which were unearthed during the development of the Kashi Vishwanath Parisar should be protected and preserved. He said, help of experts should be taken to maintain their historical and architectural legacy and Carbon dating should be conducted so that these temples and their importance is highlighted to the tourist and the pilgrims, who visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple. He said, the Kashi Vishwanath Trust should prepare a route map with appropriate tourist guides to facilitate the pilgrims who make a visit in this complex.

Prime Minister also took a detailed review of all the projects which are being undertaken in Varanasi. It was informed that more than 100 major projects within the financial out flow of around 8 thousand crore rupees is currently being undertaken in Varanasi pertaining to creation of social and physical infrastructure like hospital buildings, national waterways, ring roads, by-pass and International Convention Centre ‘Rudraksh’ built with Indo-Japan collaboration.

Prime Minister Modi also exhorted the officials to expedite completion of development works within the timelines and also maintain highest standards of quality. He directed for optimum utilisation of non-renewable energy for creation of next generation infrastructure. He said, saturation of households and street lights with LED bulbs should be taken on Mission Mode in the entire Varanasi district.

For increasing the tourism and travel foot print in Kashi, it was directed that works of cruise tourism, light and sound show, rejuvenation of Khidkiya and Dashaswamedh Ghats, display of Ganga Aarti through Audio-Video screens should be fast tracked. Mr Modi said, all efforts should be made to promote and propagate the role of Kashi as one of the key repositories of world heritage. He directed the officials to organise week long festivals of countries like Japan, and Thailand where Buddhism is practised to celebrate their art and culture heritage.

He also directed the officials to identify a model road which, with a suitable theme reflecting this heritage of Kashi to be developed as a Gaurav Path with active participation of the local citizens. He further directed that Kashi being a tourist destination should excel in all parameters of sanitation and cleanliness. He said, all efforts should be taken so as to achieve the desired levels of Open Defecation Free-ODF plus, use of mechanised sweeping and cleaning, ensuring 100 per cent door-to-door waste collection and making the entire environment very positive and healthy.

During the meeting, the presentation also dwelled on development of world class communication and connectivity infrastructure in Varanasi. Prime Minister directed that Varanasi should become a hub of National Waterway connecting Varanasi to Haldia and planning should be done for development of entire eco-system, cargo shipping and freight movement. He also directed the officials to complete the expansion and modernisation works of the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport on priority, so that Kashi becomes one of the leading cities which provides state-of-art rail, road, water and air connectivity.

The Prime Minister also reviewed the progress of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat announcements and directed that the benefits of this scheme should reach the citizens expeditiously. He said, the progress of PM SVANidhi Scheme for street vendors should be closely monitored and all street vendors should be equipped with appropriate technology and infrastructure, for helping them switch to cashless transactions. Their bank accounts should be opened up and their business and credit profile should be digitally linked, so that they utilise maximum benefit of the collateral free loans under the PM SVANidhi Scheme.

Mr Modi emphasised that farmers are one of the key priorities of the Government and intensive efforts should be made to enhance their incomes. He directed for promotion of bee keeping and highlighted the potential of bee wax in augmenting the income of the farmers.The officials were asked to ensure settting up a packaging institute in Varanasi on priority, so as to enable the farmers get better purchase of their products and make them export ready in Varanasi itself. He appreciated the efforts of the Administration for promotion of export of vegetables and mangoes.

It was also directed that focus should be on creation of wealth from the generated waste either in the form of waste to energy or waste to compost for the use of farmers should be popularised and promoted. In this light, he also highlighted that zero budget farming should be promoted and propagated among farmers highlighting their tangible and intangible benefits.

The preparation for tackling the ongoing COVID pandemic was also reviewed in detail. Prime Minister highlighted extensive and effective utilisation of Aarogya Setu App for testing, tracing and ensuring quality treatment of patients through this medium. Efforts made by the District Administration for providing food, shelter and quarantine services were also appreciated.

Mr Modi directed that appropriate skill mapping of the returning migrant workers being taken up on priority and they should be provided gainful employment on the basis of their skill sets. Feedback was also taken about the positive impact of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana and State Government led COVID relief schemes in time of distress.

The Prime Minister also reviewed the progress of Gram Panchayat Development Programme prepared by NITI Aayog reflecting his vision about saturation of Varanasi district on nine key sectors of rural development, panchayatiraj, sanitation, health and nutrition, education, social welfare, agriculture and allied activities and the livelihood and the skill domains.

He inter-alia highlighted that nutrition should be promoted as a community movement and Anganwadi Centres should as far as possible engage women and Self Help Groups for providing food to the children and enhancing their nutrition intake. Besides, adoption of Aanganwadi Centres by different Organisation and community members, arranging healthy baby competition and creating variety of food items from children’s weaning food was also suggested by Mr Modi. The Prime Minister thus focussed on enhancing the pace of development and welfare works for providing quality services to citizens of Varanasi and thereby improving their standard of living. The meeting was attended by public representatives of Varanasi.