Plans unfulfilled As the new changes and demolitions attract scrutiny and a fair share of criticism, the apathy and ineffective plans of previous governments have also come in for attention and censure. In the last three decades, the State made various plans to improve and protect the heritage of the city, but nothing much changed. In 1984 INTACH first mooted the idea of heritage zones and their development. Since then, many plans and programmes have followed: a grand scheme to conserve and beautify the entire ghats section in the 1980s, Master Plans in 1991 and 2011, City Development Plan in 2006, the recent Smart City plan and City Development Plan, 2041, to name just a few. Many of these projects were not followed through or implemented. As a result, they only made a minor impact. Some of these plans, particularly the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of 2016, delineated six heritage precincts, which included the inner city, the Buddhist site at Sarnath, and a weaver’s colony, for regeneration. It proposed 78 small projects including paving the lanes in the inner city, protecting ponds, and select intervention in residential areas. Not much has happened in this case too, and the protection of heritage precincts remains largely on paper. The biggest disappointment came from the failure to list the old city of Varanasi in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The study by Rana Singh, Professor of Geography at Banaras Hindu University, shows that attempts to nominate structures within the city to the list began in 1989 as a part of the Nehru Centenary celebrations. Since then, many attempts, including the relatively recent effort to nominate the city as a World Heritage City, have failed for lack of participation and political will, and due to bureaucratic hurdles. Had they succeeded, the city may have taken a different course. The BJP government must know that an island of attention will not be enough to make Varanasi a liveable city. Keeping the Vishwanath temple area shining while all other areas crumble cannot be a solution. Regenerating heritage precincts and making them places worthy of living requires more attention and care than the greenfield areas of the city. For this, the capacity, commitment, and sensitivity of the state have to increase manifold.