Site where VDA is bringing up commercial complex
VARANASI: The construction of a commercial complex near Dashashwamedh Ghat is likely to start by next month after lying incomplete since three decades due to legal wrangles and disputes with displaced vendors.
Varanasi Development Authority has finally decided to construct a complex — Dashashwamedh Plaza — that will accommodate 180 vendors on lower and upper ground floors and also have outlets of Kashi Vishwanath temple, tourism and integrated facilities for pilgrims and tourists on the first floor.
Talking to TOI on Wednesday, VDA vice chairman Rahul Pandey said, “After clearing all hurdles and settling disputes, we have finalised the design of proposed commercial complex at the site where construction is lying incomplete since three decades. The tender process for construction will be completed by month-end and work is expected to start in July.”
“The complex named Dashashwamedh Plaza will cost Rs 26 crores. All disputes with vendors displaced from the site in 1989-90 have been settled and no-objection certificate taken from Archaeological Survey of India to clear all hurdles,” he said adding,
The 180 vendors operating along the roads leading to Rajendra Prasad, Dashashwamedh and old Dashashwamedh (Sheetla) ghats will be accommodated on lower and upper ground floors, while the fish market at the site will be shifted to Ratnakar Market in Shivala area, where shop allotment for fish vendors has already been done, he added.
“There will be no parking provision as the Godowlia-Dashaswamedh road is being developed as a pedestrian route. On the first floor, the plaza will have offices of KVT, tourism department and integrated facilities like ticket booking for religious sites, events for pilgrims and tourists,” said Pandey.
The site that had vegetable and fish market was purchased by VDA from Varanasi Nagar Nigam in 1988-89.
Rajkiya Nirman Nigam was assigned the construction of a commercial complex but, the displaced vegetable and fish traders moved court and the construction was stopped.
After the decision of preserving old construction in 200 metre area from the Ganga was taken under the plan of declaring it as heritage zone, the government issued an order in 1998. With this development, the project to construct a commercial complex was withdrawn but arbitration between VDA and Rajkiya Nirman Nigam kept the fate of this site hanging in balance for nine years.
When the matter was resolved in 2007, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple trust showed interest to purchase the site for ‘Annakshetra’ and VDA agreed to sell it for Rs 2 crore but the department of religious works rejected the proposal. In 2009, VDA decided to construct a multi-level parking at the site but the proposal could not materialise.