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article imageModi's Varanasi redevelopment plan kicks off

By Sravanth Verma     Sep 19, 2014 in Travel
After signing a deal with Japan to develop the ancient Indian city of Varanasi along the lines of Japanese heritage city Kyoto, Indian Prime Minister Modi has kicked off the process of redevelopment.
The Kashi-Kyoto protocol was signed between Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during Modi's 5-day visit to Japan in early September this year. The agreement involves Japanese investment and expertise to develop and beautify Varanasi along the lines of Kyoto, a famed heritage city known for its beautiful blend of ancient structures with modern technology and amenities. Varanasi by contrast is as famous for its cultural heritage as it is for its sagging, and sometimes absent, infrastructure.
Varanasi is several thousand years old and finds mention in India's ancient scriptures and epics. It is dedicated primarily to Lord Shiva, one of the main Hindu deities. Now, Modi plans to blend religion with science and turn the temple town into a "smart" city, albeit with an aesthetic touch.
Modi is said to have already convened meetings to move the plan forward and is supposedly considering appointing former governor of the state of Kashmir and former vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority , Jagmohan as the key driver of the project. Jagmohan was also Urban Development Minister in a former government, and worked on Varanasi's beautification plans at the time. A leader of Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said "The city will be beautified on the lines of a planned metro city. Modi is not just the prime minister but he is also an MP who is concerned about his constituency.”
The city is a popular tourist and pilgrim destination and Modi has also reportedly roped in Google in his plans for the city, though no confirmation was forthcoming either from the government or the search giant.
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