Varanasi tent city inauguration, what is the controversy around it?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the world’s longest luxury tent city built on the banks of the Ganges river in Varanasi. More than 200 tents offer tourists a panoramic view of the holy city’s famous ghats across the river along with live classical music, ‘aarti’ at night and yoga sessions.

Calling the launch a “historic moment”, PM Modi, in a message to foreign tourists, said: “India has everything you can imagine. It also has so much beyond your imagination. India cannot be defined in words, It can only be experienced from the heart.

Three groups of 10 hectares each comprise the Tent City and are expected to give a boost to the city’s tourism potential, said Kaushal Raj Sharma, the divisional commissioner of Varanasi.

Tent city in Varanasi

The Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) is reviving a proposal to establish a ‘Tent City’ on the sandy bed of the Ganges river on the opposite side of the ghats in the holy city.

“The ‘Tent City’ will allow its guests to enjoy the beauty of the mythological Kashi ghats both day and night. While it aims to reduce the burden on hotels, which opt for dynamic pricing due to increased footfall of pilgrims after the redevelopment of Kashi Vishwanath Dham opened in December, it will also be an attraction for locals by giving them a chance to get acquainted with Rann Utsav of Kutch and Konark Tent City,” said Deepak Agrawal, Division Commissioner and VDA Chairman.

Sharing their plan, the officials said that the “tent city” would emerge on an area of 100 hectares and would be equipped with “Swiss cottages” of three categories: Ganga Darshan Villas, premium tents and super luxurious.

Among all, Ganga Darshan Villas will be the grandest with a floor space of 900 square feet. It will be a riverfront air-conditioned living facility with king size bed, lounge, plunge pool, Rajwadi sofa set, dining table and other facilities.

Tent will remain installed for 5 months

Last year, a team of officials visited the Konark wilderness camps in Odisha on Agrawal’s instructions to collect details, from setting up the camps or tents and managing them.

They submitted a detailed report. It was decided that the ‘Tent City’ would be installed in October and would remain for three to five months, after which it would be dismantled and then put back together again the following year.

It will emerge along a 5km stretch of the river on the lines of the nature camps at Konark, according to officials.

Facilities will be available in package

Check-in time is 1:00 am and check-out time is 9:30 am. Arrangements will be made to reach the tent city by boat only. Along with lunch and dinner, the cultural evening will also set the tone. Along with the yoga camp, arrangements will also be made to reach Kashi Vishwanath temple for Darshan Pujan and Ganga Aarti. In this one can bathe in the floating pool made in the Ganges.

The most expensive room in the tent city is the Ganga Darshan Villa. Rs 30 lakhs will have to be spent for a night’s stay on this. The cheapest room will cost Rs 8,000 for a single person and Rs 10,000 for double occupancy in the same room. Four types of rooms with five-star hotel-type facilities are being prepared.

Tent City will give a new dimension to the tourism of Varanasi. In any case, instructions have been given to start it on time. All the departments are working together. Arrangements for drinking water, roads, sewer etc. have to be completed by the first week of January.

“As the turtle sanctuary has been moved to the Mirzapur-Prayagraj stretch of the Ganga river,” they said, “about 500 hectares of land on the sand bed are available for the establishment of the ‘Tent City’.

VDA selected the site keeping in mind its connectivity to highways, prime tourist locations including Assi and other ghats, Ramnagar Fort, Varanasi Railway Station and Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Junction. The distance from the airport will be 33 km from the site”.

Opposition raised questions

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the launch of the world’s longest river cruise, MV Ganga Vilas, claiming the luxury liner is a complete “waste of money.” Yadav added that the Narendra Modi government’s sole motive is just to earn money by turning religious places into tourist spots.

Akhilesh Yadav questioned the BJP about the real motive behind the cruise and the Tent City. “Now will the BJP take away the jobs of the sailors as well? BJP’s policy of earning money by making religious places tourist places is condemnable. People from all over the world come to experience the spiritual splendour of Kashi, not for luxury. BJP will no longer be able to cover the darkness of real issues with external glare,” he said in the tweet.

He said that the operation of the tent city should not be allowed without ensuring that the garbage, filth and waste of Kashi’s tent city will not spread pollution by going into the Ganga river.

Conclusion

Municipal Commissioner Pranay Singh, said that all the questions being raised regarding cleanliness and waste disposal are absolutely baseless. Municipal Commissioner assigned the responsibility to the Additional Municipal Commissioner Rajeev Kumar Rai who said that there shouldn’t be any kind of invasion in the area. The invasion squadron conducted continuous campaigns.

He inspected the tent city being built on the sand across the Ganges. During this, he said that without the permission of the Municipal Corporation, no business or other activities will be conducted in the sand on the other side of the Ganges. To do so, deposit the license fee with the Corporation according to the rules. They will only be allowed after the test.

As per the Varanasi Development Authority the sewerage system, drinking water system and cleanliness will have to be done before the tent city is set up. A separate team is being deployed to monitor the whole area.

ALSO READ

Follow Ground Report for Climate Change and Under-Reported issues in India. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterKoo AppInstagramWhatsapp and YouTube. Write us on GReport2018@gmail.com.

%d bloggers like this: