Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in his parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, on Thursday to inaugurate the International Cooperation and Convention Centre — ‘Rudraksh’. The two-storey convention centre, which has a seating capacity of 1,200, was built with the assistance of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Constructed in the Sigra area of Varanasi over three acres of land at a cost of nearly Rs 200 crore, the ‘Rudraksh’ centre has been positioned as an ideal location to host all types of international conventions, concerts and exhibitions in order to strengthen the city’s competitiveness by developing its tourism sector. It comprises a main hall with a tower, meeting rooms and a spacious parking area that can accommodate as many as 120 cars.
The roof of the building has been constructed to resemble the Shiva Linga. At night, the entire building will glow with LED lights. The gallery showcases Varanasi’s distinct culture and heritage, with murals depicting its art and music. If required, the main hall can be partitioned into smaller spaces for events. JICA assisted the construction of the convention centre by providing a grant of 3,042 million Japanese yen (around Rs 200 crore) under the Japanese ODA scheme. The foundation stone for the centre was laid in 2015, during then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Varanasi.
‘Rudraksh’ was built keeping the environment in mind, and will be fit for fit for Level 3 of Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), officials said. It will also be equipped with adequate security and safety systems, with a regular entrance, a service entrance and a separate VIP entrance. Apart from collaboration between India and Japan, the objective of the project is also to provide opportunities for cultural interactions between people.