The Ghats, the temples and the Kunds of Varanasi are the driving force which attracts millions of tourists to this ancient city every year. Over the years, these divine structures have survived wars and natural calamities and have been a lifeline for the city of Varanasi. Today, the Kunds of Varanasi are at a crossroads. Having served the society for centuries, they need our support to re-claim their lost glory. People of Varanasi want the Kunds to be restored, so do the tourists and devotees visiting Varanasi.
The corner view of Durga Kund, which is under renovation
Considering the mandate of the countrymen, Energy Maharatna ONGC has taken the responsibility for cleaning and beatifying the four famous Kunds namely Durga Kund, Lakshmi Kund, Sarangnath Kund and Lat Bhairav Kund. The ONGC Board approved this flagship CSR project with financial implication of Rs 11.46 Cr. The project is currently under implementation in partnership with M/s National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd. (NBCC) and Varanasi Nagar Nigam. After signing of the tripartite agreement, an amount of Rs 3.82 Cr, has already been released and the work is in progress.
Prior to taking up the project, ONGC engaged an independent agency to carry out a feasibility study and to prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR). Based on the recommendation, the project activities were initiated by M/s NBCC.
Challenges were many in the implementation of this project. Starting from identifying the project partner to addressing the demand of the local people. ONGC CSR representatives coordinated with the local authorities, attended meeting with the native residents, negotiated with Trustee, who have the ownership of few of the Kunds to make sure that the project is implemented in the right spirit. Over the years, residential houses has come up right across the Kunds, blocking the natural drainage. With Nagar Nigam, Varanasi being a partner, engaged in addressing such local issues to facilitating timely execution of the project.
The project activities include general civil works including railings, electrical fittings, landscaping, beautification, construction of barriers to check the ingress of pollutants to the water of the Kunds and further purification of water through anaerobic bioremediation method. There is also a provision for maintenance and upkeep of the Kunds for five years through the implementing agency.
Some of the Kunds have been totally drained off water for the cleaning of debris while in some others where there is presence of large aqua life, water was not removed instead other scientific methods are being adopted for water purification without disturbing the aquatic life.
Currently, work is under progress at the Kunds. The photographs below elaborates on the progress of work in three of the Kunds.
After completing the entire beautification and cleaning of the Kunds, ONGC will further take care of the upkeep and maintenance of these Kunds for five years. As the work is in the final phase of completion, local resident, tourist, public institution are all complimenting ONGC for restoring the Kunds which were neglected for decades.