Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday chaired a review meeting through video conference on various development projects in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi.
Reviewing the progress of Kashi Vishwanath Dham Project, the Prime Minister directed that all such old temples which were unearthed during the development of the Kashi Vishwanath Parisar should be protected and preserved.
The presentation also highlighted the progress made in the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir complex by using a drone video of the layout.
"It was informed that more than 100 major projects within the financial outflow of around Rs.8000 crores is currently being undertaken in Varanasi pertaining to the creation of social and physical infrastructure like hospital buildings, national waterways, ring roads, by-pass, International Convention Centre ''Rudraksh'' built with Indo-Japan collaboration etc," read the release by Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
"Help of experts should be taken to maintain their historical and architectural legacy. Carbon dating should be conducted so that these temples and their importance is highlighted to the tourist and the pilgrims, who visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The Kashi Vishwanath Trust should prepare a route map with appropriate tourist guides to facilitate the pilgrims who make a visit in this complex," it said.
The Prime Minister exhorted the officials to expedite completion of development works within the timelines and also maintain the highest standards of quality.
He directed that optimum utilisation of non-renewable energy should be utilised for the creation of next-generation infrastructure.
"Saturation of households and street lights with LED bulbs should be taken on Mission Mode in the entire Varanasi district. For increasing the tourism and travel footprint in Kashi, it was directed that works of cruise tourism, light and sound show, rejuvenation of Khidkiya and Dashaswamedh Ghats, display of Ganga Aarti through Audio-Video screens should be fast-tracked. All efforts should be made to promote and propagate the role of Kashi as one of the key repositories of world heritage," read the release.
Prime Minister Modi directed the officials to organise week-long festivals of countries like Japan, Thailand etc. where Buddhism is practised to celebrate their art and culture heritage.
He also directed the officials to identify a model road which, with a suitable theme reflecting this heritage of Kashi to be developed as a "Gaurav Path" with the active participation of the local citizens.
He further directed that Kashi being a tourist destination should excel in all parameters of sanitation and cleanliness.
"All efforts should be taken so as to achieve the desired levels of ODF plus, use of mechanised sweeping and cleaning, ensuring 100% door-to-door waste collection and making the entire environment very positive and healthy," the release said.
The Prime Minister directed that Varanasi should become a hub of National Waterway connecting Varanasi to Haldia. He also directed the officials to complete the expansion and modernisation works of the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport on priority, so that Kashi becomes one of the leading cities which provides state-of-art rail, road, water and air connectivity.
Prime Minister Modi also reviewed the progress of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat announcements and directed that the benefits of this scheme should reach the citizens expeditiously.
"The progress of PM SVANidhi Scheme for street vendors should be closely monitored. All street vendors should be equipped with appropriate technology and infrastructure, for helping them switch to cashless transactions. Their bank accounts should be opened up and their business and credit profile should be digitally linked so that they utilise the maximum benefit of the collateral-free loans under the PM SVANidhi Scheme," the release said.
PM Modi emphasised that farmers are one of the key priorities of the Government and intensive efforts should be made to enhance their incomes.
He directed for promotion of beekeeping and highlighted the potential of bee wax in augmenting the income of the farmers. "The officials were asked to ensure setting up a packaging institute in Varanasi on priority, so as to enable the farmers to get better purchase of their products and make them export-ready in Varanasi itself. He appreciated the efforts of the Administration for promotion of export of vegetables and mangoes in collaboration with the APEDA (Ministry of Commerce)," the release said.
The efforts undertaken on effective management of COVID were also discussed.
While reviewing preparation for tacking the ongoing COVID pandemic, the Prime Minister highlighted extensive and effective utilisation of Aarogya Setu App for testing, tracing and ensuring quality treatment of patients through this medium.
Efforts made by the District Administration for providing food, shelter and quarantine services were also appreciated.
He directed that appropriate skill mapping of the returning migrant workers being taken up on priority and they should be provided gainful employment on the basis of their skill sets.
The Prime Minister also review the progress of Gram Panchayat Development Programme prepared by NITI Aayog reflecting his vision about the saturation of Varanasi district on nine key sectors of rural development, Panchayati Raj, sanitation, health and nutrition, education, social welfare, agriculture and allied activities and the livelihood and the skill domains.
He inter-alia highlighted that nutrition should be promoted as a community movement of Anganwadi Centres should as far as possible engage women, Self Help Groups for providing food to the children and enhancing their nutrition intake. Adoption of Aanganwadi Centres by different Organisation and community members, arranging healthy baby competition and creating a variety of food items from children''s weaning food was also suggested by PM.
The meeting was attended by District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma, Municipal Commissioner Gaurang Rathi, Varanasi (South) MLA Neelakanth Tiwari, Varanavisu Cantt MLA Saurabh Shrivastava among others.