Assi Ghat Seems to Have all Eyes in Varanasi, But to What End?

Assi is the only ghat undergoing a face-lift in Varanasi, but residents see red in some of the changes being made.

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Most of the 84 ghats in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, are in a deplorable condition, but only one, the Assi Ghat, seems to be getting all the attention.

A part of Assi Ghat, which was constructed in 2002, is considered Varanasi’s newest ghat. And it is here that the government is carrying out a much publicised face-lift. However, residents in the area see red in some of the changes, such as the use of shiny, polished marble for flooring.

Rugged stones are deliberately used around river banks to prevent people from slipping when they bathe. People were not foolish earlier. After polishing, its natural beauty would go away. You can do whatever for its marketing but it won’t affect the river Ganga.
Vishwambharnath Mishra, Professor, IIT(BHU)
Assi Ghat
Assi Ghat
(Photo: The Quint/Vikrant Dubey)

When Narendra Modi became prime minister as the Varanasi MP, people hoped he would help develop the city’s ghats. In fact, he vowed to do just that while speaking at Assi Ghat. Following this, some of the ghats were ‘adopted’ by BJP leaders, and construction began in those places.

The ignored ghats of Varanasi.
The ignored ghats of Varanasi.
(Photo: The Quint/Vikrant Dubey)

But in March 2018, when French President Emmanuel Macron took a boat ride’s on the Ganges in Varanasi, scaffoldings were hurriedly put up to avoid embarrassing photos and questions. It was clear, then, that no results are forthcoming.

Those who have adopted the ghats have been saying that they will discuss the issue. It has been in discussion stage for years now.
Vikas, Resident

(This article was originally published on Hindi Quint.)

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