NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - saron@hin­dus­tan­times.com

With civic polls round the corner, it’s time for cit­i­zens to have their say. HT in­vites read­ers to send write-ups and pic­tures con­cern­ing civic is­sues of their area to

VARANASI : With ur­ban lo­cal bod­ies’ polls sched­uled on Novem­ber 26 in Varanasi, the fo­cus is on a host of civic ail­ments which have been plagu­ing the old­est liv­ing city for years.

These prob­lems in­clude traf­fic con­ges­tion, en­croach­ment, pot­holed roads, stray an­i­mals, pa­thetic con­di­tion of parks and con­tam­i­nated wa­ter sup­ply in sev­eral pock­ets.

The Chet­ganj, Be­nia, Nai Sadak and Gir­i­jaghar lo­cal­i­ties are the ones most prone to traf­fic jams, caus­ing much in­con­ve­nience to com­muters and tourists.

With the traf­fic lit­er­ally crawl­ing on these stretches, al­ter­ca­tions among com­muters are com­mon.

De­spite the au­thor­i­ties claim­ing that they are mak­ing ef­forts to ad­dress the prob­lem, its ex­tent is grow­ing ev­ery year.

Dhar­men­dra, a so­cial ac­tivist, says, “Traf­fic jams choke many stretches of the road lead­ing to Godowlia from the Ba­naras Hindu Univer­sity ev­ery evening and af­ter­noon. Snarls also com­mon at Nai Sadak, Si­gra, Chauka Ghat and cer­tain pock­ets of the old city.”

Be­cause of the traf­fic night­mare, he says he avoids go­ing out in the evening. Varanasi mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Nitin Bansal said, “We are work­ing con­stantly to re­solve the is­sue of traf­fic con­ges­tion. Ef­forts are on to set up an in­te­grated traf­fic man­age­ment cen­tre equipped with so­phis­ti­cated tech­nol­ogy in the city.”

En­croach­ment, which is com­mon on sev­eral roads, also causes traf­fic snarls. Nai Sadak, Be­nia, Godowlia, Maida­gin, Dal Mandi, Pili Kothi and Lal­la­pura and Sonarpura are among the ar­eas with the most en­croach­ments.

The roads lead­ing to Gir­i­jaghar from Lahurabeer, Gir­i­jaghar to Bhelupur, Telia Bagh to And­hara­pul and many in the Pandey­pur area are pot­holed in patches.

Though sev­eral schemes like HRIDAY (Her­itage City De­vel­op­ment and Aug­men­ta­tion Yo­jana) were in­tro­duced to im­prove the con­di­tion of the roads, the de­sired change is yet to be vis­i­ble.

The iconic ghats along the Ganga draw tourists from across the globe. The VMC de­cided to slap fi­nan­cial penalty on those lit­ter­ing the ghats. The civic au­thor­i­ties car­ried out a clean­li­ness drive among the pan­das (priests), ap­peal­ing them to ask ev­ery vis­i­tor not to throw waste on the ghats. Big bins were also set up to en­cour­age peo­ple to use them.

In sum­mer, wa­ter cri­sis trou­bles res­i­dents of Kho­jwan, Sar­raiya, Nakki Ghat, Ko­nia and Panch­ganga Ghat. Con­tam­i­nated wa­ter sup­ply is an­other prob­lem. Leak­ing pipe­lines al­low sewage to seep into the potable wa­ter sup­ply. The ad­min­is­tra­tion says it is work­ing on the mat­ter.

RA­JESH KU­MAR /HT

Stray cat­tle at Ra­jen­dra Prasad Ghat in Varanasi.

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