Swarajya Focus: Modi’s Varanasi Clean Up

by Swarajya Staff - May 21, 2018 12:13 PM +05:30 IST
Swarajya Focus: Modi’s Varanasi Clean Up

Dear reader,

Last week, our team undertook an arduous journey to prime minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi.

It’s not an easy city to travel in, let alone live in. Years of neglect and bad policies has reduced the holiest city in India to one of its noisiest and dirtiest. Don’t go by the glittering photographs; Varanasi is a nightmare for tourists and punishing for its residents. It’s one big mess that, at first glance, looks irredeemable.

But our revered Kashi is changing. Residents - and we spoke to hundreds of them - testify to this change. “In Kashi, things are moving thanks to PM Modi. In India, things moving is good enough,” a sadhu at the famous Assi Ghats told us.

How is Varanasi changing?

Its Ghats are improving. For the first time, they have got toilets and lights. They are much cleaner than before. “Every good effort you see regarding cleanliness is because of the government and not the locals. The latter would only add to the garbage if they could,” a priest told us. Read our report on the changing face of ghats, as seen through the eyes of its oldest inhabitants, here.

A 16 sq km of Old Kashi area along the ghats has become ‘wireless’. PM Modi has delivered on his promise to replace overhead electricity cables with underground ones and in record time.

Read our report here, explaining why it was arguably one of the most daunting power infrastructure projects in recent times not just in Varanasi but also in India. And how it was done.

Its villages are changing. We travelled to two of three villages adopted by PM Modi - Jayapur and Nagepur - and took a stock of the development works happening. Villagers say they have seen more ‘vikas’ in last four years than they did in the six decades before 2014.

Read our comprehensive coverage here, with a lot of photographs, here. Don’t miss out on the happiest part - a gift from PM Modi to the area’s poorest dwellers, the Musahars.

Lastly, we attempted a story most would shy away from but one that needs to be talked about. Just why Kashi’s most revered temples, that draw visitors in millions every year, are filthy? Yes, filthy.

Dear reader, Varanasi is undergoing a churning, and the scale and pace of work is unprecedented. Let not the Lutyens’ media give you a picture of gloom simply to run down a government they may not like. We bring you real voices on the ground.

Now that you know what we've produced we would also like you to look at what the old media has been dishing out to its readers, especially on Varanasi. You will find that Swarajya is the only digital + print platform in India actually putting in the hard work to offer insightful, meaningful reportage on these issues.

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