New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Singh today requested the Centre to consider a few changes to the “The Marine Aids to Navigation” Bill of 2021 for the interest of Odisha.
Participating in the debate, Singh stated, “As the Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways seeks to develop 65 lighthouses on public-private-partnership mode, Odisha’s five lighthouses present huge potential for tourism.”
The new bill repeals the Lighthouse Act of 1927 and proposes to incorporate the global best practices, technological development and India’s international obligation in the field of marine navigation.
Singh added one of the five lighthouses situated along the Odisha coast was the 180-year-old functional tower which continues to guide ships. The ‘False Point’ island lighthouse is situated off the Kendrapara coast while the other four are situated in the mainland.
The Ministry wants to develop them as hubs of tourism under the Sagarmala project, he informed.
The British-era False Point lighthouse, a 129-ft massive minaret-like structure of red-white bands with a huge embossed star, is visible from quite a distance from the Bay of Bengal.
Its location close to massive mangrove vegetation infested with crocodiles makes it an adventurous tourist place on the eastern coast. According I. C. R. Prasad, former electrical engineer and passionate lighthouse researcher, the False Point is the oldest working lighthouse in India.
Barely 40 km away, the Paradip lighthouse is another imposing structure. It also holds tourism potential because of its proximity to the port town and Cuttack and Bhubaneswar cities (100 km). It was commissioned in the 1980s.
Another century-old one is Gopalpur in Ganjam district. The 150-year-old tower used to assist ships sailing between Rangoon and the coromandel coast ports and is already a tourist place. The Chilika Lake and the Gopalpur beach will be added attractions if it is developed as a place of tourist interest.
The Chandrabhaga lighthouse, 10 km from the world famous Konark temple, offers a breathtaking view of the sea and its height enables tourists to get a panoramic view of the town. It had withstood the severity of cyclones such as the Super Cyclone (1999), Phailin (2013) and Fani (2019).
The Puri lighthouse, four km from the 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple, is also a tourist place. Situated on the golden beach of Puri, it is 65 km from the Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar, and eight km from the Puri railway station.