In a much needed respite from boat mishaps for the fishing community based in the Uttan-Arnala coastal belt, the government authorities under the aegis of the Maritime Board has initiated the work to construct a lighthouse at the confluence of Vasai creek in the Arabian Sea which is popularly known as Khutacha Raasta.
The lighthouse project had run into rough weather a year after its bhoomi-pujan (groundbreaking cermony) in 2019. Notably, the lone lighthouse in the region which has been lying in a heavily damaged state had stopped functioning several years ago. Since then fishermen from the coastal areas including Uttan, Pali, Chowk, Vasai, Naigaon, Khochiwada and Arnala had a harrowing time while navigating their boats and fishing vessels on the dangerous channel of the coastline, some meeting with fatal mishaps and blind crashes owing to the presence of hazardous reefs.
In response to pleas by the local fishing community, Thane parliamentarian Rajan Vichare had followed up on the issue and procured a nod for the Rs 56 lakh lighthouse project from the District Planning and Development Council (DPDC) with Maritime Board as the executing agency.
The lighthouse is being prepared in Bhayandar (east) following which will be installed with the help of heavy duty dredgers. “The lighthouse will ensure safe passage and stand strong in helping fishermen, who were devoid of the needed facility on this stretch of the coastline for a long time,” said fishing community leader Bernard D’mello.
Officials from the Maritime board inspected the progress of work on Wednesday. Commissioned more than four decades ago, the lighthouse which was upgraded in 1998, 2002 and 2006 had a luminous range of 19 nautical miles, emitting light twice every 20 seconds, officials said.