The people of Varanasi were on Saturday elated to hear about Saturday’s signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which the temple town will be developed as a ‘smart city’ with cooperation from Kyoto — the Japanese city which is a confluence of heritage and modernity.
With the signing of the MoU, interest in Kyoto — which, like Varanasi, is known as ‘the city of temples’ and the ‘archive of Japanese living culture’ — has shot up among the Kashiites.
People were found discussing the pact at ghats and tea stalls. Most of them were for lateral planned expansion while preserving and improving the city with more open space and greenery.
Artists in the city feel that it is also important to protect the city’s intangible heritage — including dance, music and the various fairs.
Meanwhile, those from the business sector are hopeful about the pact. “Development of tourism will boost the economy. Cottage, small and medium scale industries in the region will get a new lease of life,” said Ashok Kapoor, a businessman.