Why turning Varanasi into Kyoto will be tough for Modi Govt: Explained

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Japan was highly applauded. Apart from pledging about cooperation on regional challenges being faced by two country, Modi also brought home a big investment of USD 35 billion.

Both the premiers Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe decided that this huge sum of money which comes around Rs 2,10,000 crore will be spend on various projects including infrastructure development and building of smart cities in India. It was also agreed upon that Varanasi will be developed like Japanese city Kyoto.

Let's analyze whether that will be easy task or the difficult one for the incumbent Government. Then again if the task will be done then how much the time it will take? Whether it will take 200 years as cited by the Supreme Court in context of river Ganga.

What was the deal signed between Modi-Abe?

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Japan under which Kyoto will help Varanasi in becoming smart city.
  • According to the deal, two will become 'partner city affiliates' where Kyoto will provide every possible cooperation in giving makeover to Modi's constituency.
  • Kyoto will share best practices on heritage conservation and city modernisation. It will also cooperate on culture, art and academics front. 
  • Making Varanasi a world class city is a part of Modi's vision. According to the planning, 100 ‘smart cities' will be develop across India in due course of time.

What are the similarities between two cities?

  • Both the cities are similar as far as religious activity is concerned. While Varanasi is known as a city of numerous temples and ghats and most importantly for Kashi Vishwanath Temple, kyoto boasts of thousands of shrines.
  • Varanasi also known as Kanshi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited city while Kyoto has been a imperial capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years till the Emperor moved it to Tokyo.
  • Both is densely populated. Kyoto has around 1.5 million population while Varanasi has 1.2 to 1.3 million.
  • Another similarity is that both the cities are beside the river. While Varanasi is situated on the bank of most revered river Ganga, three river I.e Yodo, Kamogawa and Katsura rivers flow through Kyoto.

Tough task ahead for Modi government?

  • Don't gloat over, thinking that it will be a cakewalk for Modi government as there are number of obstacles in between.
  • Two cities are starkly different in terms of infrastructural growth , modernisation programme and as far as transport mode is concerned. 
  • And above all a big problem with the people of the Varanasi is they themselves doesn't want to grow. Imagine they throw out wastes in same Ganga which provide them drinking water.
  • While maintaining old glory of temples and monuments, Kyoto city has been modernised, but then what about our city Varanasi, still languishing in its past glory.Most of the renowned heritage sites in Varanasi are in dilapidated State and deteriorating with little upkeep. 
  • Roads in Japanese city are neat and wide in spite of densely populated, but Kansi is having abysmal record on this front. This city is known for dirtiness and squalid condition.
  • While Ganga has been polluted for decades and all its Ghats are in bad shape, Kyoto has managed this in most envious way.
  • According to Indian express, Kyoto has a number of rivers, canals and other navigable waterways. While Yodo, Kamogawa and Katsura rivers flow through Kyoto, its Late Biwa canal is a major infrastructure milestone.

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