Swati Chandra | March 3, 2015 | Varanasi
# The place where former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi launched the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) at Rajendra Prasad ghat in Varanasi in 1986 had turned into a pungent smelling embankment by river side in Varanasi, frequently used for urination, open defecation and throwing garbage. Irony !
# The shelter below this embankment had become home for thugs and drug addicts who would sit under the shelter of the embankment and stare at the activities on the ghats – The stare that scares women, tourists and even locals.
# The slippery area by the river side had become the dumping ground for the solid waste that accumulate on the ghat. It was just impossible to pass through this area, which is adjacent to Dashaswamedh ghat (most thronged for bathing and religious activities).
In December 2014, it looked like this
In February 2015, I visited my home town again. Some of my friends who joined me were keen on exploring the ghats and the serpentine lanes leading from the Ganga to the city. I was keen too but only until I reached this place. As I was apprehensive and feeling sad for what they might think looking at condition of this place. We were about to take a boat and to my surprise, this place looked totally different.
When enquired the locals and the boatmen who dwell on the ghats throughout the day, we realised what the prime minister could not do in all these months, a little endeavour by few art lovers in the town changed the fate of this place.
Students of fine arts, painters and artists from Varanasi cleaned this place and transformed it into a green belt by the river side. They have cleaned the stairs, converted the junk, which was wasting away on the neglected stairs, into dust bins, boat replica and garden pots and planters. Plastic bottles, poly bags, floral wastes were not found floating on the surface water this time. “Open defecation and urination in this area has also been banned not by force, but merely by creating awareness and shaming the wrongdoer with the tool called ‘art’,” shared Amit, a graduate in fine arts, who is also the part of this unpopular group.
A number of ghats in Varanasi (having historical and archaeological importance) are dying because of public apathy. Efforts are being taken to clean up the mess and restore the pristine glory of the river fronts but only for photo opportunities and other reasons.
As a native of this town, I have seen social activist, NGOs, school kids and even politicians forming human chains, shouting slogans, participating in signature campaigns and lighting candles to clean up the ‘mess’ called Ganga, the river that is nurturing some 450 million people.
Such activism never raised any hope, even when prime minister Modi picked up spade and cleaned Assi ghat in November 2014.
But the effort by these art lovers is surely the light at the end of the tunnel.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, MoS PMO, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space and MoS Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr Jitendra Singh on Tuesday interacted with and felicitated the first 20 All India Toppers of IAS/ Civil Services Exam 20
In a major decision, the Government has decided to grant waiver of ISTS charges to Off-Shore Wind Projects and extend the waiver to Green Hydrogen/Green Ammonia. This decision has been taken to facilitate wider execution of offshore wind energy initiatives, to promote the expansion of Green Hydrogen / Gree
Urging use of alternative and cost effective fuels to reduce pollution caused by vehicles, union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said finding cost-effective fuels is the need of the hour and underlined that use of fuels like bio-CNG and green hydrogen help in protecting the e
The foodgrain production of 3305.34 lakh tonnes is estimated in the current agricultural year 2022-23 – higher by 149.18 LMT as compared to the previous year, according to the Third Advance Estimates of production of major crops released by the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare.
The AI Supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’, installed at C-DAC, Pune, has been ranked 75th in the world. It was declared so in the 61st edition of Top 500 Global Supercomputing List on Tuesday at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC 2023) in Germany. It puts India on top of AI S
The ongoing third Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group G20 meeting (May 21-23) has focused on three aspects: land degradation and reclamation of mining areas, Blue Economy and sustainable ocean management and resource sufficiency and circular economy. Leena Nandan, secretary,