Mumbai: India’s shipping ministry plans to open up lighthouses to tourists and has identified 19 such facilities across the country that will be developed through public-private partnerships.
These include the one at Kanhoji Angere, which currently has just three ministry of shipping employees living there to manage the lighthouse located on the island. The Mumbai lighthouse is located on the island owned by the Mumbai Port Trust and is named after the Shivaji’s Admiral Kanhoji Angere, who was the head of Maratha navy.
“Lighthouses are as old as civilisation. Lighthouses have lights in different colours that can reach up to 35 km,” said A.M. Surej, director general, Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships. The colours and the number of times they flash allow sailors to recognise the location.
“For instance, Mumbai lighthouse has two flashes in 20 seconds, eight flashes in Chennai and six flashes in Gujarat,” Suraj said.
Countries such as South Korea, South Africa, the UK and the US have also promoted such lighthouse tourism.
Suraj said hospitality and tourism services will be provided at the sites.
Pradeep Kumar Sinha, secretary, ministry of shipping, said the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships has already carried out a feasibility study for 15 lighthouses. Another four lighthouses are proposed to be covered under this project, he said.
“The tourism circuits would be developed through a transparent bidding process in next six months on a revenue share basis,” Sinha said.
IL&FS Ltd will be consultant to the programme. Directorate General of Lighthouses has 183 lighthouses, 64 radar beacons and 22 deep sea buoys under its charge.
Milind Deora, minister of state for communications and information technology, and shipping, said the objective of developing lighthouses is threefold—to conserve heritage, to generate awareness about India’s rich maritime history and to raise the interest of the general public in shipping.
“This is not just a money making drive but will be used to encourage the younger generation to explore our culture. We want showcase our legacy,” Deora said.