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Ghat-Inspired Steps, Trident Lights, Crescent Roof: PM Lays Foundation Stone for Varanasi Cricket Stadium

PM Narendra Modi with former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and others during the foundation stone laying ceremony of an international cricket stadium, in Varanasi on September 23, 2023. (PTI)

PM Narendra Modi with former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and others during the foundation stone laying ceremony of an international cricket stadium, in Varanasi on September 23, 2023. (PTI)

To be built near the Ring Road in Rajatalab area, the 30,000-capacity international cricket stadium is likely to be ready by December 2025. During his visit to Varanasi, PM Modi also inaugurated 16 residential schools, named Atal Awasiya Vidyalayas, for needy children

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent a packed Saturday in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi, the visit headlined by the foundation stone-laying ceremony of an international cricket stadium.

Former India cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri, BCCI president Roger Binny, vice-president Rajiv Shukla and secretary Jay Shah were present at the event which was also attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

To be built near the Ring Road in Rajatalab area, the 30,000-capacity stadium is likely to be ready by December 2025. This would be UP’s third international stadium after the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur and Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.

“The stadium in the city of Shiva will be dedicated to Shiva himself. It will help budding sportspersons in Kashi (another name for Varanasi) hone their skills. The success that India is witnessing in the field of sports is proof that the perception of the people is changing. Ab jo khelega, wo hi khilega (now the one who plays, will bloom),” PM Modi said on the occasion.

Officials with the UP government said the stadium will be a Rs 451-crore project. The government said that it has spent Rs 121 crore to acquire the land for the stadium, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will spend Rs 330 crore on its construction.

Envisaged to have a unique design, the spectators’ gallery of the stadium would resemble the steps of the ghats of Varanasi. Inspired by Lord Shiva, the lights would be shaped like a trident and the roof of the stadium would be shaped like a crescent moon.

During his visit to Varanasi, the PM also inaugurated 16 residential schools for needy children in Uttar Pradesh, built at a cost of about Rs 1,115 crore.

These schools – Atal Awasiya Vidyalayas – have been opened to provide quality education to children of labourers and construction workers and those orphaned in the Covid-19 pandemic. The schools intend to accommodate 1,000 students each. Currently, 80 students — 40 boys and 40 girls — are enrolled. The schools will impart education free of cost and will also provide free accommodation to the students.

PM Modi also addresses an all-women public meeting in the city, focussing on the women’s reservation bill passed in Parliament this week.

“Kashi is the birthplace of Rani Lakshmibai. From the role of Rani Lakshmibai in the freedom struggle to women scientists leading Mission Chandrayaan, we have seen the capabilities of women. Women have proved their leadership quality. In fact, women leadership may be a modern approach for the rest of the world but we are the people who worship goddess Parvati and Maa Ganga,” the PM said.

Later, he inaugurated the Kashi Sansad Sanskritik Mahotsav at Rudraksha Convention Centre, saying “efforts like these strengthen the cultural vibrancy of this ancient city”.

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