Digest>Archives> November 2002

India’s New Vodaravu Lighthouse

By I C R Prasad

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“Cyclone passed Prakasam District, 18 fisherman died, 300 missing.”

This headline and others similar to it have appeared in Indian newspapers several times during the last 3 or 4 decades. The Bay of Bengal coast in India is a cyclone prone area and almost all depressions formed in the bay turn into cyclones and if not Bangladesh, pass the coast of Prakasam and Nellore Districts of the state of Andrapradesh in India.

Along the coast of Andrapradesh, there is hundreds of fishing hamlets where men use ‘katamarans,” a country craft made by tying three or four wooden logs together, to venture into the sea. The two or three fishermen who take the ‘katamaran’ to sea have to sit in difficult positions on the logs and there bodies will always be wet. Now days, most of the ‘katamarans’ are fitted with diesel oil powered outboard engines, however they have no communications system on board.

November and December, the season of depressions and cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, is the best season for fishing Tiger and Brown varieties pf Prawns too. The turbulence in deep sea drives the fish to shorelines and this encourages the fishermen to take the challenge of venturing the rough sea, giving a deaf ear to the warnings of weathermen and the local administration. Fishermen who were saved from the sea by authorities after cyclones complained that the calmness before the cyclone betrayed them and when the wind started, they lost direction and could not return to shore because of poor visibility. Repeated such instances convinced the authorities that the early warning of the weathermen is not sufficient to save the lives and the decision was made to construct two more lighthouses at Vodaravu and Nizamapatnam.

The construction of Vodaravu Lighthouse was started in July of 2001 and the work of the 30m high RCC tower, powerhouse and staff quarters was completed within ten months. The tower is painted with black and white bands and has a spiral staircase inside. A fourth order revolving optic driven by electronic pulse motors has been installed and the illuminant is a cluster of three 70W Metal halide lamps.

This story appeared in the November 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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