The iconic beacon of the Visakhapatnam harbour, which went dark in the 1960s, is all set to be restored and revived.
The 59-ft round tower with gallery and lantern, which was a transit line lighthouse directing ships into the harbour channel, went out of service in 1962. The Visakhapatnam Port Trust had the structure plastered and doors and windows installed to protect it.
With the Ore Conveyor Belt and the new slum clearance project buildings coming up in the neighbourhood, it became a garbage yard, and the lighthouse that was visible 12 nautical miles into the sea on a clear day went into disrepair. Unwilling to see the beacon of hope for seafarers go to seed, Chief Operating Officer of Visakha Container Terminal Pvt. Ltd. Capt. Sriram Ravi Chander persuaded VPT Chairman Ajeya Kallam to hand it over to them to have it restored and revived.
With the support of the Chairman of VCTPL and Chairman of JM Bakshi Group of Companies Krishna Bhai Kotak, an ardent restorationist, the VCTPL appointed Mumbai’s restoration architect Vikas Dilawari to oversee the project.
The lantern of the gas-fired lighthouse with white dioptre light of the fourth order that flashed every 20 seconds was originally set up in Santilly (Chintapalli) in 1847 to mark the dangerous rocks there. The reefs off Santilly were one of the most dreaded on the eastern seaboard.
In 1902, the authorities decided to set up a more powerful lighthouse there and shifted the lantern to its present location, Capt. Ravi Chander said.
“In the first phase, the plaster is being removed and the inside staircase and platform for the light being repaired. The restoration work would recommence once the rainy season is over,” he added.
Upon becoming fully functional, it would be restored to its original glory as the icon of the Visakhapatnam harbour and the city, the master Mariner said.