Modi’s Varanasi the next Kyoto? Union minister KJ Alphons says PM’s constituency a ‘dirty city’, losing tourists due to unclean surroundings

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New Delhi | Published: June 6, 2018 10:45:25 AM

The remarks by Alphons, who is MoS for Tourism, are seen as an embarrassment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is a Lok Sabha MP from Varanasi.

Narendra Modi, KJ Alphons, Varanasi, BJP, Bharatiya Janata Party, ganga river, Ganga aarti, Clean Ganga, Varanasi tourism, Varanasi ranking(File pic) Union Minister KJ Alphons

Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a dirty city, Union Minister KJ Alphons has said. The BJP leader was in Varanasi on Tuesday where he attended the spectacular Ganga aarti on the Dashashwamedh ghat. “The city (Varanasi) is dirty, we need to clean it,” he said according to news agency ANI.

Alphons said that Varanasi has the potential to attract tourists but the unclean surroundings have resulted in a drop in the number of tourists visiting here in the last few years. He reportedly also said that the river Ganga was getting polluted due to the offering of milk and flowers as part of Hindu rituals. Alphons added that the narrow roads in the city also contributed to the traffic jams. “The roads here are congested which results in traffic jams and is a cause of concern.”

The remarks by Alphons, who is MoS for Tourism, are seen as an embarrassment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is a Lok Sabha MP from Varanasi who has been advocating to make the city like Japan’s Kyoto, considered one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party has taken a dig at the BJP over its own central minister’s remark. Party spokesperson Juhie Singh said that neither the Centre nor the Yogi Adityanath government has done any development work in the PM’s constituency. “Now the BJP minister has started criticising the ground situation in Varanasi. It is imminent now that the governments both at the Centre and in Lucknow have not done any development work and PM also knows about it.”

The BJP however defended Alphons’ statement saying that the situation in the city has improved a lot after Modi won elections from here. Party spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “The Minister is from south and the cities there are more developed. The situation in Varanasi has improved and people of the city are also acknowledging the changes.”

According to data released by the WHO last month, Delhi and Varanasi are among the 14 Indian cities that figured in a list of 20 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM2.5 levels in 2016. In the Swachh Survekshan (survey) Rankings, 2017, Varanasi was ranked 32nd cleanest city in India.

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