Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kyoto model or state government’s Santiago model, which way will Varanasi go.
Varanasi- the oldest living city in the world- is hogging all limelight after it elected PM Modi in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
For PM Modi, Kyoto model is best to develop Varanasi into a smart city.
But the state government has a different view from PM Modi. It has mooted Santiago model, capital of Chile, to develop Varanasi into a smart city.
The government has sent district magistrate Pranjal Yadav on a World Bank Sponsored project to Santiago to study its development model for implementing it in Varanasi.
Now, Kyoto or Santiago is the latest buzz in Kashi. Samajwadi Party leaders are going all out for Santiago model for developing Varanasi into a smart city.
PM Modi in his five-day visit to Japan last month had signed a Partner City MoU with Japan to develop Varanasi, the city which he represents in Lok Sabha, into a smart city by using the experience of Kyoto.
Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan, is also known as the city of ten thousand shrines.
Indian ambassador Deepa Wadhwa and Kyoto Mayor Daisaka Kodokawa signed the pact in behalf of their respective countries. The historic pact provides for cooperation in heritage conservation of Kashi and its modernisation to develop it into a smart city.
However, after the by-poll drubbing of BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the resurgent SP leaders of Varanasi do not want PM Modi’s development model for Varanasi.
Defeat of BJP-Apna Dal alliance candidate in Rohania by-poll, which is part of PM Modi’s Varanasi constituency, has further emboldened the SP leadership to pitch for Santiago model of development plan for Varanasi.
Santiago, the largest city and capital of Chile, the South American country, was founded in 1541 and is among the oldest cities in the world.
“PM Narendra Modi’s Kyoto model is the best for Kashi and it is the only model which will be implemented in Varanasi,” Mayor Ram Gopakl Mohle said, when inquired about ongoing Kyoto or Santiago model debate.
The state government’s new found interest in Varanasi is not only confined to developing it into a smart city.
After PM Modi’s resolve to clean Ganga and restore historic ghats of Kashi, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav decided to adopt river Varuna, a minor tributary of Ganga, flowing through heart of the city.
The government has also decided to explore prospects of reviving river Assi, which is now extinct.
Whether it is Kyoto or Santiago, it is win- win situation for Varanasi.