Marakkanam lighthouse ready to guide fishermen
CHENNAI, November 11, 2013
N. ANAND and K. T. SANGAMESWARAN
The new lighthouse in Kadapakkam has been emitting light since last week. Photo: T. Singaravelou
It will be inaugurated by Shipping Minister on November 30
The new lighthouse at Marakkanam has started emitting light, providing safe passage for small boats in the nearby fishing hamlets.
Till recently, fishermen were being guided by the lighthouse located either at Puducherry or Mamallapuram.
The Marakkanam lighthouse in Villupuram district is located about 60 km from Puducherry and 40 km from Mamallapuram. It is also 17 km from Marakkanam towards Cheyyur.
It took nearly 12 months for the authorities to construct 110-120 feet high structure at a cost of Rs.2.20 crore. The new facility will be inaugurated by Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan on November 30. According to the sources, it is the 24th lighthouse on the east coast spanning from Pulicat to Kovilthottam.
It will be powered by a solar panel. Its light will be visible for 17 nautical miles during night and 16 nautical miles during the day. Last week, a technical team visited the spot to increase the light's length.
As per the maritime agenda, the Centre plans to set up at least one lighthouse for every 30 nautical miles along the maritime route in the country. Currently, there are 184 lighthouses in the country, of which 33 are on the east coast. The 25th lighthouse is being set up at Vembar in Tuticorin district. Land has already been acquired and the authorities are awaiting formal clearance from the Union the Environment Ministry to commence civil works.
Even as the Centre has decided to allow tourists to climb the Marina lighthouse from Thursday, there are requests from the public to have an aerial view of the city and the port from the third lighthouse building in the Madras High Court. Sources said that Chennai maritime trade saw lighthouses being operated from four sites.
The first one was erected at Fort's Museum, the second one along the Esplanade Line in the Madras High Court and the third one at the centre portion of the High Court's main building. The second and third lighthouses can be allowed for public viewing only after renovation. Meanwhile, the Public Works Department said it would cost about Rs.75 lakh to renovate the third lighthouse.
The court has sought details about the renovation. After getting a reply from the department, the matter would be placed before the court's Heritage Committee for its decision.