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Monday, 14 May 2012

Varanasi Nagar Nigam to rid ghats of crude graffiti

Swati ChandraSwati Chandra, TNN | May 13, 2012,

VARANASI: The Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN) is seeking help of the Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for technical assistance in removing paint from the walls of the world famous ghats that have been defaced by locals with cheap graffiti and crude advertisements.

According to additional municipal commissioner Sachidanand Singh, as many as 200 cheap graffiti and advertisements painted on the stone walls of the prestigious ghats have been identified in a recent survey conducted by the VNN.

"The defacing of the walls is illegal under Sarvajanik Sampati Suraksha Adhiniyam, also it is incorrect to put up advertisements destroying the neutrality of the heritage under the Indian Tourism Corporation (ITC)," informed Singh. According to him, most of the paintings on the walls are basically advertisements of various roof top cafes, motels, lounges, music and yoga centres that have sprouted in the lanes and bylanes near the Ganga.

"A notice has been sent to all the people who have defaced the walls of the ghats. However, we have yet not taken the action of removing paints from the stones as it may damage the walls. For that matter, a meeting with the experts of INTACH was held four days ago. We will also seek technical help from conservators of ASI in removing the paints from the walls of various ghats. The money required for the purpose will be charged from those who have defaced the walls," informed Singh while speaking to TOI on Sunday. FIRs will also be lodged against such people in future.

It may be mentioned here that wall painters of the city have defaced 84 ghats that are also considered the heritage stretch on the western banks of the Ganga. The formidable red stone walls, built years ago to withstand the mighty Ganges in its full-fury, are now being pathetically defaced by cheap graffiti and crude commercial advertisements to attract tourists.

The painted advertisements of yoga training centres, motels, lounges, restaurants, cafe and many other joints have come up from Asi Ghat to Mansarovar Ghat as the stretch is popular in backpackers who would come and stay in the serpentine lanes in the close vicinity of the river and practice music, yoga, religion, palmistry and such areas of learning, while ghats like Dasaswamedh and Sheetla are full of painted advertisements of books, Benarasi sari and handicrafts

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