INDIA, August 15, 2019 : A unique project in Varanasi is pushing for modern development in the heartland of Indian antiquity. It may well become a model for historic precincts in the country as India develops economically. The Kashi Vishwanath corridor project, which is being personally supervised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and funded by the local Uttar Pradesh government, is monumental. Varanasi, considered one of the oldest living cities in the world, is also Modi’s political constituency from where he has won his last two elections.In a country where real estate and land redevelopment in public spaces is fraught with litigation, the project has successfully evacuated 250 families and over a 100 small businesses that had been in the area for at least 80 years and even longer in some cases. The land acquisition stands nearly completed a good year ahead of schedule.
As a part of the dramatic transformation of the ancient city, the first in nearly 200 years, the land will be used to construct a 65 ft. wide pathway for the about 1000 ft. distance from the river to the temple. The new construction is expected to cost the state government about US$35 million, in addition to the $42 million already spent on land acquisition. Though no concrete plans are yet available, a walk-through created by Gujarat-based architecture firm HCP Design outlines a pilgrim centre, public utilities such as toilets, a library, cafes, and a museum. It will help ease congestion and make access easier for pilgrims to the temple, which has a golden spire and domes.