15 light­houses for tourists

Kan­hoji An­gre Light­house, off Mum­bai coast to be the first desti­na­tion un­der ‘Light­house tourism’ project un­der­taken by Min­istry of Tourism and Min­istry of Ship­ping in In­dia.

TravTalk - India - - News - ANITA JAIN

Af­ter fo­cussing on de­vel­op­ing Bud­dhist, ru­ral and med­i­cal tourism, the Min­istry of Tourism (MOT) is now set to in­tro­duce ‘Light­house tourism’ among do­mes­tic and in­bound trav­ellers. The MOT and Min­istry of Ship­ping has agreed to de­velop 15 light­houses across the In­dian coasts as tourist des­ti­na­tions, start­ing with Kan­hoji An­gre Light­house, based off the Mum­bai coast (op­er­at­ing for more than 150 years now). The first desti­na­tion un­der this pi­lot project will be ready for tourists in next 10 months (Au­gust – Septem­ber 2014). This is a part of the pi­lot project that will also in­clude Dol­phin’s Nose Light­house in Vishakha­p­at­nam and the Ma­ha­balipu­ram Light­house in Chen­nai. The suc­cess of Kan­hoji An­gre Light­house as a pi­lot project will de­cide the fu­ture of the other 12 light­houses in the coun­try. Light­houses at Vishaka­p­at­nam and Ma­ha­balipu­ram in Tamil Nadu are un­der­go­ing facelifts and are ex­pected to be tourist-ready by end of 2014.

The MOT will be pro­vid­ing a Vi­a­bil­ity Gap Fund­ing (VGF) of ` 14.71 crore for the Kan­hoji An­gre project, which will ul­ti­mately cost ` 48 crore. The project will be un­der­taken through PPP mode, wherein the pri­vate bid­der will have to in­vest the re­main­ing ` 35 crore. The pri­vate bid­der will

The MOT shall ex­tend fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for de­vel­op­ing light­houses as tourism des­ti­na­tions

be de­clared by end of 2013 and the project will be awarded on a 30-year con­ces­sion.

K Chi­ran­jeevi, Tourism Min­is­ter, said, “The MOT shall ex­tend fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for de­vel­op­ing light house tourism des­ti­na­tions to the Min­istry of Ship­ping. In the first phase, the Kan­hoji An­gre Light­house near Mum­bai, Dol­phin Nose Point Light­house in Visakha­p­at­nam and one near Ma­mal­la­pu­ram near Chen­nai are be­ing de­vel­oped as pi­lot projects. Once de­vel­oped, In­dia will add yet another at­trac­tive tourism prod­uct in its kitty.”

I re­alised that they (light­houses) can be­come im­por­tant tourist des­ti­na­tions

Adding fur­ther, Milind De­ora, Min­is­ter of State for Ship­ping said, “Our min­istry runs 180 light­houses along the coast­line of In­dia. They are im­por­tant nav­i­ga­tional tools for ships, but I re­alised that they can be­come im­por­tant tourist des­ti­na­tions. And of the three we have iden­ti­fied, In­dia's first will be de­vel­oped just off the coast of Mum­bai. It's a unique light­house and tourists have to sail to the is­land which has its own at­trac­tion. It's a his­tor­i­cal is­land with a fort built around it by Kan­hoji An­gre. We feel that the part­ner­ship with the MOT should have hap­pened a long time ago. But, bet­ter late than never.”

Chi­ran­jeevi in­formed that MOT has al­ready started ap­ply­ing for re­quired per­mis­sions from dif­fer­ent de­part­ments for the de­vel­op­ment of light­houses. He said, “Most light­houses are in re­mote lo­ca­tions, but they abound in nat­u­ral beauty and seren­ity. This, is ideal for leisure tourism.”

Milind De­ora

Min­is­ter of State for Ship­ping

K Chi­ran­jeevi

Min­is­ter for Tourism

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