Lighthouses will guide tourism to new heights: Gadkari

The Government has taken up an ambitious plan to develop lighthouses dotting India’s vast coastline as new beacons of tourism, Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari has said.

Addressing the Investors Summit on Development of Lighthouses as Beacons of Tourism in Mumbai on Thursday, Gadkari said, “All over the world lighthouses enthrall tourists with their scenic and serene surroundings and rich maritime heritage. In India, there is a vast tourism potential, which has largely remained untapped.”

He added, “India has as many as 189 lighthouses and the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL), Noida, has drawn up a plan to develop 78 of these as tourist attractions under Public-Private Partnership. Such identified lighthouses are in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Nine lighthouses from Maharashtra and Goa – located at Sunk Rock, Kanhoji Island, Uttan Point, Korlai Fort, Jaigadh, Ratnagiri, Devgadh, Vengurla Rocks, Tolkeshwar Point, Fort Aguada and Sao George are part of the lighthouse development project.

The Minister also said that the Shipping Ministry has already held road shows in Chennai, Kochi and Visakhapatnam and the outcome has been very encouraging, with 236 potential investors participating in these.

In addition, he talked about some concerns expressed by investors, especially with respect to coastal regulation zone clearance, security clearance, support from Ministry of Shipping in the form of subsidy, etc. He admitted that there would be some road blocks while implementing this ambitious project, but asserted that the Government’s attitude will remain positive.

Gadkari futher told the Government is also expecting that development of these lighthouses as vibrant tourist spots may give a boost to local economy by generating additional employment as most of these lighthouses are located in the remote areas of the country.

The Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, Captain A M Surez said, “four lighthouses located at Chennai and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu and Alapuzha (Alleppy) and Kannur (Cannanore) in Kerala have already been developed as tourist attractions, which are seeing substantial footfalls.

The DGLL has also invited Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from prospective and potential developers for eight lighthouses at Kanhoji Angre and Sunk Rock off the Mumbai coast, Aguada in Goa, Kadalur Point at Thikkodi in Kerala, Minicoy in Lakshadweep islands, Mahabalipuram and Kanyakumari- Muttom in Tamilnadu and Chandrabhaga in Odisha. An Expression of Interest (EOI) for developing Tourism infrastructure has also been issued by the DGLL for another set of 70 lighthouses. The Shipping Ministry has favoured Swiss Challenge method for awarding lighthouse projects in a bid to encourage innovative ideas.

Development of tourism infrastructure would involve addition of hotels or resorts, thematic restaurants, construction of viewing galleries, walk in museums and allied tourism facilities.

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