Mumbaikars will soon be able to visit and explore two Grade I heritage structures — the Sunk Rock and the Kanhoji Angre lighthouses. A proposal for restoration of the structures and development of the public area, which was put forward by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), is in the process of acquiring approvals from the environment ministry as well as the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC).
The Kanhoji Angre Island Lighthouse was constructed in the early 1850s and the Sunk Rock Lighthouse was built in 1884. The MbPT has proposed to convert the two lighthouses to tourist destinations by setting up restaurants with an aim to promote marine cultural heritage.
While a jetty has been constructed at the 23 metre-high Kanhoji Angre Lighthouse that flashes a light every 10 seconds, work on the 22 metre-high Sunk Rock Lighthouse is yet to start because of pending approvals from the MHCC.
The MbPT has proposed to construct a deck measuring 900 square metre around the lighthouse with a width ranging between 4.5 and 10 metres so that tourists can have a good view of the lighthouse and the sea. The proposal also includes basic public amenities.
The viewing deck will be connected to the 50 metre-long and six metre-wide jetty.
Apart from strengthening the lighthouses, in their previous plan, the MbPT’s had proposed a glass tube-like structure that would house a restaurant. In a revised plan they submitted to the MHCC in May this year, they have instead, proposed a 7 metre-high ground-plus-one structure that can include a cafeteria, a food court or a restaurant on the deck where the tourists can relax. Members of the MHCC had then raised concerns over the proposal and recommended that a clear view of the lighthouse has to be maintained from all sides. The MHCC had asked the MbPT to submit a revised proposal.
The MbPT ran into hurdles with the Ministry of Environment and Forests that had objected to the proposal of constructing a resort near the Kanhoji Angre lighthouse. Senior officials, however, said they would revise the proposals accordingly.
“We had submitted the proposal for Kanhoji Angre and Sunk Rock lighthouses. But the Environment Ministry had recommended that it be tweaked. We will make some changes and re-submit our proposal soon,” said Sanjay Bhatia, the chairperson of the MbPT.