UP election: Traffic jams, lack of toilets plague ‘heart of Kashi’ | assembly-elections$uttarpradesh-2017 | Hindustan Times
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UP election: Traffic jams, lack of toilets plague ‘heart of Kashi’

Varanasi is as famous for traffic jams and lack of toilets as it is for the myriad ghats, lanes and temples that dot its colourful expanse. However, not everybody in the Varanasi South constituency is willing to accept them as minor inconveniences that form part of the city’s identity as India’s most popular pilgrim destination.

Assembly Elections Updated: Feb 25, 2017 11:21 IST
Sudhir Kumar
There are 742 lanes and 41 ghats in the Varanasi South constituency, which houses the famous Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples.
There are 742 lanes and 41 ghats in the Varanasi South constituency, which houses the famous Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Varanasi is as well known for traffic jams and lack of toilets as it is for the myriad ghats, lanes and temples that dot its colourful expanse.

However, not everybody in the Varanasi South constituency is willing to accept them as minor inconveniences that form part of the city’s identity as India’s most popular pilgrim destination. “Just look at the bikes parked haphazardly on city lanes due to lack of proper parking facilities. Leave alone traffic jams, even walking becomes difficult because of this,” complains Lalji Yadav, a trader on Thatheri Bazar lane.

What’s more, the entire area does not have even a single community toilet. “People have to walk over half a kilometre to reach one in the Chowk area,” Yadav says, adding that local politicians don’t address even the most basic issues plaguing the people.

There are 742 lanes and 41 ghats in the constituency, which houses the famous Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples. The area is also a hub for Banarasi sarees, local food, spiritual activities and tourism.

Chhote Lal, a gem trader in Nariyal Bazar area, also complained of these problems. He, however, says locals were equally to blame. “Nobody wants to donate space for constructing community toilets. The municipal body is willing, but it has no space.”

Shekhar Rao, a CD shop owner, says local traders are forced to relieve themselves in the open due to the lack of public toilets in the lane. “Our requests for a toilet have fallen on deaf ears,” he laments.

Bad roads and broken pipelines are a major issue in Dal Mandi area.

The Varanasi South assembly constituency, which has nearly 2.73 lakh voters, is represented by the BJP. Though sitting MLA Shyamdeo Roy Chaudhary won the seat in the last seven elections, the party has fielded Neelkanth Tiwari instead on this occasion.

Tiwari has been pitted against Congress leader Rajesh Mishra (contesting on behalf of the Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance) and Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Rakesh Tripathi.