Under the centre’s newly launched sister cities concept Varanasi has been paired with Amritsar to improve the level of development in the latter. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) had carried out a process of ranking the progress in development in all the 100 smart cities.
To ensure the growth and development in all the cities, the centre had decided to pair up 20 best performing cities with the 20 worst performing ones for knowledge sharing and learning best practices from one another.
The civic authorities in Varanasi have implemented several initiatives under its Smart City Mission successfully making the city setting an example for other cities. A few initiatives taken under the Varanasi Smart City are: Suramya Kashi, an initiative taken under the area-based development category.
It aims to rejuvenate famous Ghats in Kaashi along the banks of Ganga River and the developing the ‘Kashi Kala Dham’. The ‘Kashi Kala Dham’ is a centre of excellence promoting Indian Classical Music to revive the famous Benaras Gharana, which popularised Varanasi as the ‘City of Music’.
Moreover, the move also focuses on restoring the face of the city and organising heritage walks, providing the facility of electric crematoriums at cremation Ghats, placing signages on as many as 84 Ghats and building Shri Kashi Vishwanath corridor.
Nirmal Kashi (Pure Kashi) is another such initiative which focuses on redevelopment of smart parks, beautification of ponds, improving sewage management system, rejuvenation of the Mandakini Kund and building Kanha Upvan, a gaushala. Moreover, the move also focuses on redevelopment of wards of Old Kashi.
Surakshit Kashi (Secure Kashi), as the name suggests, this initiative is an attempt to ramp up the security in the pilgrim town. The project includes the installation of a surveillance system including cameras for monitoring across the city of Varanasi. Further, a helpdesk will be setup for women and senior citizens; it will also include upgrading police stations and making emergency helpline numbers available to improve the safety of children, women and senior citizens.
Hence, there are a good number of initiatives that Varanasi has implemented under the smart cities mission which can pose as best practices for Amritsar to learn from and improve its rank in the smart city rankings.