The Smart City plan of Varanasi has identified the need for technological application for traffic management and to curb encroachment into public places. These are identified as the major problems that need attention in the holy town.
Varanasi has cited an Ernst & Young study on a ‘City Mobility Plan’ to say that 50 per cent of the carriageway capacity in the heart of Varanasi is occupied by irregular parking as there are no proper parking facilities.
Encroachment is another serious problem leading to shrinking the space for vehicular traffic. The plan says that an ‘Intelligent Traffic Management’ project is the choice of a majority in the “unplanned 4,000-years-old city” of Varanasi.
The Smart City Plan has proposed retrofitting particularly in the Core Area of the city near the Kashi Vishwanath temple — Bhelupur, Sigra, Gadoiya and Lahurabeer areas — which is also the central business area of the temple town.
Among the suggestions made in the Smart City Plan is face-lifting of the Godliya Crossing to Dashashmegh Ghat area — the major centre of attraction for tourists and pilgrims in Varanasi.
The key points of the Smart City plan include construction of multilevel parking with a smart card system technology and display boards at various locations in Varanasi, a city-level mobile application for parking availability and provision of e-rickshaws for moving on roads that are limited to other kinds of traffic.
Waste management is a core area identified in the plan — with steps suggested such as solid waste collection, RFID sensor-based bins and rehabilitation of existing sewer lines. The Smart City Plan has also suggested an air quality monitoring station, provision of Wi-Fi facility in key public areas, CCTV cameras and information signboards at all crossings and other key locations.
It suggested underground cabling, development of footpaths, subways and foot-over-bridges in congested areas, development of cycle tracks and mounting of GPS on all vehicles of police, ambulances, public buses and those carrying solid waste.