KENDRAPARA: The Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has recently invited companies to make investments on public-private partnership (PPP) mode for development of 65 lighthouses across the country including four in Odisha.
The lighthouses to be developed in the State are located at Gopalpur in Ganjam, Chandrabhaga and Konark in Puri and the century-old False Point lighthouse in Kendrapara district. The move aims to promote tourism in the State, said Director General of Lighthouses, Kolkata Birendra Yadav.
“Last year, we installed lift at the lighthouse in Chandrabhaga, which is located near the UNESCO world heritage site Sun Temple, for tourists. Konark forms a part of the Puri-Bhubaneswar-Konark circuit which is most visited by tourists. Similarly, the lighthouse in Ganjam is located near the Gopalpur beach which is an emerging tourist destination in Odisha. Besides, the 184-year-old False Point lighthouse at Batighar is a heritage structure. Plans are afoot to fit lifts in these lighthouses too,” said Yadav.
Globally, lighthouses are becoming potential tourist attractions as they provide panoramic view of scenic locations, mostly on the coastline. In addition, many lighthouses attract visitors due to their status as historic structures or landmarks. Therefore, many countries have started initiatives to promote lighthouses as tourism destinations and are enhancing facilities for tourists. On similar lines, the Directorate General of Lighthouse (DGL) and the Union Ministry of Shipping chalked out a plan to develop lighthouses across the country three years back.
The initiative envisages benchmarking the project components and facilities similar to development of lighthouses across the world. The primary objective is to promote lighthouse-based tourism. The existing lighthouses and their surrounding areas will be developed into tourism destinations, maritime landmarks and heritage precinct.
In Odisha, six lighthouses at Paradip, False Point, Gopalpur, Chandrabhaga, Prayagi and Puri have been shut down since March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Navigational assistant-cum-headlight keeper of False Point lighthouse Jayant Chatterjee said, “We have written to the Director General of Lighthouse to reopen the lighthouses in the State but a decision is yet to be taken.”