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Issue 10
, 2009
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Old buildings add to pollution in Ganga

poor sanitation and unhygienic conditions raise concerns
Source: Times of India, Varanasi, Date: , 2009

Walking along the long stretch of platforms along the Chausatti Ghat, on the way to famous Dashashwamedh Ghat in the city, one may come across a number of old buildings that are directly discharging their sewerage into the holy Ganga.

While poor sanitation and unhygienic conditions on most ghats have raised eyebrows in the past, poor maintenance of old buildings has also started attracting attention of the visitors, mostly foreign  tourists.

If the sewage system of the hotel was enough to raise eyebrows- with at least two exit points directly into the Ganga- the adjoining houses in dilapidated conditions with ruptures and cracks in the walls and ceilings were also raising concern.

In some of the buildings, especially near Rana Mahal Ghat, plastic pipes were laid at more than half a dozen points that also allowed seepage due to leakages. In addition, cemented pipes (witnessing cracks at many points) were also laid along some of the ghats, flushing out sewage and filth from the buildings.

As per estimate, over 500 old buildings (more than 80 per cent of them belonging to trusts including Vijayanagaram, Rana Uday Pratap, Rani Bhawani, Ahilyabai and other emperors and rulers in different states) on 105 ghats are already over a century old.

The Varanasi Nagar Nigam that looks after the maintenance and demolition of old buildings for safety reasons has also prepared a list of more than 100 buildings (mostly near the ghats) in the city. Executive engineer, VNN, UN Tripathi said while some of the buildings (around dozen in numbers) have been demolished last year, others are witnessing either stay from the court or conflicts between owner and tenant.

Also, a number of old buildings have been converted into lodges or hotels to attract tourists (mostly foreign tourists), who prefer the view of the Ganga during their stay in the city.

(The picture file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported,Wikimedia Commons,to be reused freely)