Renovated facility draws huge crowds; visitors demand better amenities, safety provisions

One of the lesser-known landmarks in the city’s outskirts, the light house at Pulicat, fifty kilometres away, has got a fresh lease of life this holiday season.

The lighthouse was recently reopened to the public along with the other lighthouses that have been receiving huge patronage, in the city.

On Wednesday, around 500 families drove to the coastal hamlet to experience the pristine beach and climb up the lighthouse. The hamlet used to attract a limited number of tourists on holidays, and during festivals and the bird-watching season. The lighthouse has now resulted in an increase in the numbers.

Durai Mahendran, a resident of Pulicat, who visited the facility along with his family on Wednesday, said since it was quite windy and it has been drizzling throughout the day, it was nice to stand atop the lighthouse and enjoy the view.

“We have lived in Pulicat all our lives, but to see our town from the top feels nice,” said Divya, wife of Durai. 

Visitors, however, wish the facilities for tourists will improve. They are seeking more toilets, seating arrangements, improved lighting and shelters in the vicinity of the lighthouse. They also want grilles atop the lighthouse.

R. Karunakaran, president, Lighthouse Kuppam panchayat, said the village was still waiting for facilities on the beachfront.

“We have been asking for creation of parking lots, improvement of lighting, boating facilities and a beach watch team. But the proposals remain on paper. Two years ago, a family of 22 persons died in a boating accident and pleasure boating was banned thereafter. Fisherfolk are, however, struggling,” he said.

Sources in the Tiruvallur district administration said, since the brackish water Pulicat Lake is a protected area, clearance from the forest department is necessary for introduction of boating facilities.

On the demand for installation of safety grilles atop the lighthouse, sources in the directorate-general of lighthouses and lightships said, grilles will be installed at a cost of Rs. 8 lakh. “It will be taken up after the work at Mamallapuram lighthouse is completed,” he said.

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