Kyoto-Varanasi steering panel holds first meeting

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Similarities between Varanasi and the Japanese city of Kyoto and the probable areas of collaboration between the two cities were discussed at the first meeting of the steering committee on Kyoto-Varanasi Cooperation held in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The meeting was chaired by Urban Development Secretary Shankar Aggarwal, who is also the Chairman of the steering committee, set up to operationalise the Agreement on Sister City Cooperation signed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan.

It was attended by Ramgopal Mohley, Mayor of Varanasi, Vice-Chairman of Varanasi Development Authority, Director General of Archeological Survey of India, senior officials from the ministries of External Affairs, Culture and Human Resources Development and officials from other concerned agencies besides officials from the Embassy of Japan.

Praveen Prakash, JS in the Ministry of Urban Development, made a presentation highlighting the similarities between Kyoto and Varanasi and the possibilities of sharing the experiences of Kyoto in emerging as the top ranked city in the world in the domain of leisure and tourism with development strategies centred around conserving its rich culture heritage.

Three principles highlighted in respect of Kyoto’s initiatives were: conservation of culture, radical changes in town planning, drastic reduction in garbage generation and enhancing the appeal of city’s cultural visibility through measures like banning outdoor advertisements and river front development.

The UD Secretary suggested that Kyoto’s initiatives and experiences be formulated into concrete areas of cooperation for possible implementation in Varanasi keeping in view its unique characteristics in collaboration with Kyoto.