NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP
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.
Stray cattle at Rajendra Prasad Ghat in Varanasi.