Entry fee imposed at Namo Ghat; decision reversed after protest: A decision by civic authorities in Varanasi to charge a ten rupee entry fee for a recently renovated ghat along the Ganga river has elicited mixed reactions on social media, with many questioning how access to a sacred river can be controlled and others emphasising the importance of regulating the massive crowds that visit the area every day.
The ticketing system has been put on hold for the time being, according to an official.
“We had begun the ticketing system for operations, maintenance, and crowd control. Our senior officials have asked that we put it on hold for the time being. The system was established to ensure proper ghat maintenance and to keep anti-social elements out “, a government official told the media in a statement.
Yesterday, a photo of a ticket for the city’s recently redeveloped Namo Ghat went viral on social media. The ticket bore the ‘Smart City Varanasi’ logo and stated that it was valid for a 4-hour visit.
The Namo Ghat, also known as Khidkiya Ghat, is an ancient ghat located at one end of the city, according to the Uttar Pradesh tourism website.
Varanasi is well-known for the numerous ghats along the Ganga River, which are visited by thousands of people every day.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the groundwork for the renovation of the Khidkiya ghat in 2019, and the first phase of work was recently completed. After the construction of sculptures with folded hands greeting the sun, such as ‘Namaste,’ the ghat was given a new name.
At the ghat, there are plans to build an open-air theatre, a library, and a cafeteria.
Gaurav Kapoor, the national convener of the Congress party’s research department and a Varanasi resident, tweeted a photo of the entry ticket this morning, calling it a bad move. “For the first time in history, a ticket to enter a Varanasi Ghat is being issued. This is a bad decision that should be reversed “Mr Kapoor tweeted, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Varanasi Municipal Corporation.
इतिहास में पहली बार, बनारस के एक घाट पर जाने के लिए टिकट, खिड़किया घाट (नमो घाट) पर अब 4 घंटे के लिए 10 रुपिया का टिकट। वाह @narendramodi जी वाह। यह गलत है @PMOIndia और @nagarnigamvns और यह वापिस होना चाहिए। @priyankagandhi @INCUttarPradesh @INCVaranasi @INCIndia @RahulGandhi pic.twitter.com/zN5ZxZssv2
— Gaurav Kapoor (@gauravkapoorvns) August 3, 2022
The move has also gained support on social media, with one user tweeting that the money was needed for maintenance and that the amount was affordable.