A recent move by civic authorities in Varanasi to charge ₹10 as an entry fee to the newly renovated Namo Ghat along the river Ganga has triggered a debate on social media platforms.
While many devotees are speaking against the move which controls one’s access to the sacred river, others believe that charging money can contribute to the management and maintenance of the ghat.
The ticket that went viral on social media showed ₹10 as an entry fee which will be valid for four hours. The ticket also had a ‘Smart City Varanasi’ logo.
Vaibhav, a resident of Varanasi, took to Twitter and said: “As one who has lived and has been brought up on ghats, I never thought that I’ll get to see such a thing.”
Not only Namo ghat, but at Town Hall and Benia also visitor has to pay entry fee. https://t.co/pKTTSIM84S
— Shashi Kumar (@iShashiShekhar) August 3, 2022
BJP leader Shashi Kumar said the fee is charged at places like Town Hall as well.
As per reports, the ticketing system has been put to hold for the time being.
A Reporter from Banaras just Called & told me: “Decision to Levy ₹10 to visit NaMo Ghat has been Taken Back by Local Administration after Public Anger on Social Media.”
Finally, Some Sanity has Prevailed. https://t.co/xCxGn7v3Df
— Vaibhav Singh (@vaibhavUP65) August 3, 2022
The Ghat is visited each day by a large number of devotees who engage in the famous Ganga aarti.
The Ghat was initially called the ‘Khidkiya ghat’, however, it came to be known as the ‘Namo hat’ because of the large sculptures in the form of hands folded in ‘namaste’.
The ₹34-crore project is the 85th ghat in Varanasi.
The two statues (of folded hands) are 25 feet and 15 feet tall respectively and express a salutation to the river Ganga.
As per another report, the ghat was home to about 500 people who lived there and were evicted during the renovation. As per the report, the slum dwellers were promised homes in 2020 when their houses were bulldozed. Some families who got homes were not given any papers of ownership of the houses.