Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday will inaugurate the first phase of 'Kashi Vishwanath Dham' corridor constructed at a cost of around Rs 339 crore on Monday.
Appealing to people to join the programme, Modi on Sunday tweeted: "Tomorrow, 13th December is a landmark day. At a special programme in Kashi, the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham project will be inaugurated. This will add to Kashi's spiritual vibrancy. I would urge you all to join tomorrow's programme."
Modi will reach Varanasi on a two-day visit on December 13. He will visit Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple to offer prayers and after which he will inaugurate phase 1 of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
In a statement, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said it was the vision of the Prime Minister for a long time, to facilitate the pilgrims and devotees of Baba Vishwanath, who had to encounter congested streets and surroundings with poor upkeep, when they practiced the age-old custom of taking dip in the holy river, collecting Gangajal and offering it at the temple.
"To realise this vision, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham was conceptualised as a project to create an easily accessible pathway to connect Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the banks of the River Ganga. To kickstart the work for this pious endeavour, the foundation stone of the project was laid by the Prime Minister on March 8, 2019," the PMO said.
The PMO pointed out that the Prime Minister took a keen and active interest at all stages of the project. Regular briefings, reviews and monitoring was done by the Prime Minister himself, and he constantly gave inputs and insights to improve the project and make it more accessible for pilgrims, including for the disabled.
The project was designed to provide easy access for the disabled and old age people with provision of ramps, escalators, and other modern facilities.
As per the PMO, a total of 23 buildings will be inaugurated in the phase 1 of the project. They will provide a variety of facilities to the pilgrims visiting Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, including Yatri Suvidha Kendras, Tourist Facilitation Centre, Vedic Kendra, Mumukshu Bhavan, Bhogshala, City Museum, Viewing Gallery, Food Court, among others.
"The project involved purchase and acquisitions of more than 300 properties around Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The Prime Minister's vision to take everyone along was the principle based on which mutual negotiations were done for these acquisitions. In this endeavour, the rehabilitation of around 1,400 shopkeepers, tenants and homeowners were done amicably," the PMO said.
It claimed that the testimony of the success is the fact that there is no litigation pending in any court of the country regarding acquisitions or rehabilitation related to the development of the project.
"Prime Minister's vision was also to ensure that all heritage structures be preserved during the course of development of the project. This foresight came handy when, during the process of destruction of the old properties, more than 40 ancient temples were rediscovered. These temples have been restored and beautified, while ensuring that there is no change in the original structure," the statement said.
The scale of the project was such that the project is now spread over a massive area of about 5 lakh square feet, whereas earlier premises were limited to just around 3,000 square feet. Despite the Covid pandemic, the work on the project has been completed as per the planned schedule.
During the visit to Varanasi, the Prime Minister will also visit Kaal Bhairav Temple on Monday afternoon and witness Ganga Aarti while on board a Ro-Ro Vessel in the evening.
On December 14 at around 3.30 p.m., the Prime Minister will attend the 98th anniversary celebrations of Sadguru Sadafaldeo Vihangam Yog Sansthan at Swarved Mahamandir in Varanasi.
During the 2-day visit, the Prime Minister will also participate in a conclave of Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, along with Deputy CMs from Bihar and Nagaland.
The conclave will provide an opportunity to share governance related best practices and is in line with the Prime Minister's vision of furthering team India spirit.