The Telegraph
Thursday , May 3 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paradip lighthouse signal system awaits revamp
- Fishermen in Bay of Bengal have to sail without direction in the absence of visual indicator

Paradip, May 2: Poor and erratic visual light signal from the Paradip lighthouse has allegedly become a cause of concern for mariners and navigators in the Bay of Bengal.

The lighthouse, which has not been repaired for about two years, is now malfunctioning, causing difficulties for crews of small fishing vessels navigating in the sea.

“A number of marine fishermen have told us about the problems they have been facing because of malfunctioning of the lighthouse signal. The occasional fading of the light at the lighthouse makes it very difficult for the fishermen to navigate in the sea,” said Narayan Haldar, president of Odisha Traditional Marine Fishermen Association.

“We were fishing about 2 to 3 nautical miles off Paradip coast when the signal from the Paradip lighthouse suddenly stopped. The disruption lasted for a few minutes. But, we were panic-stricken by then as we had to sail in mid-sea without any directions,” said Laxman Ramulu, a marine fisherman from Sandhakuda near this port town.

The lighting beam system installed at the lighthouse near the Paradip Port Trust is an outdated one. The battery-operated lighting system was prone to frequent technical snags, said another fisherman.

However, an official in the lighthouse said the periodic breakdown did not pose much problem for the mariners as the False Point lighthouse at Batighar in Kendrapara district was working properly.

With the visual ray signal from the False Point lighthouse at Batighar, the navigators should not face much problem in finding the longitudinal and latitudinal location of their vessels, said the lighthouse personnel.

Besides, the Paradip lighthouse is equipped with latest differential global positioning system and other gadgets.

The navigators in ships and deep-sea vessels having satellite connectivity and linkage received constant radio messages transmitted from our side, said the official.

Even some officials felt there was a need to upgrade and refurbish the visual signal system at the Paradip lighthouse.

The visual signal system has undergone major revamp at the adjoining False Point lighthouse.

“The eastern zone directorate of lighthouses was informed of the technical hitch our visual signal system,” said an engineer at the Paradip lighthouse.

Paradip coast guard deputy inspector general K.P.S. Raghuvanshi said: “Our ships are equipped with modern gadgets to handle eventualities such as lack of signal from the lighthouse. The Coast Guard ships are not entirely dependent on the lighthouse.”

Assistant engineer of Paradip lighthouse Arabind Kumar Singh said: “On certain occasions, the visual signal had become erratic. But, it had also been restored. We are trying to set right the technical snags for better lighting signal.”