By I J Saldanha Shet
Mangaluru, Feb 22, 2015: Here is a glaring case of administrative apathy towards the problems of the fishermen. A century and a half old light house located at Hoigebazar in the city, close by the Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation Ltd office, is inoperative since the past two years with the authorities least bothered to set it right in the best interests of the fishermen.
Fishing boats and cargo vessels which enter the old port as well as leave the port relied on this lighthouse since long.
But to the dismay of the fishermen as well as the sailors in cargo vessels, the inoperative light house has also brought problems for them. In fact a recent mishap wherein a cargo vessel named ‘Vijayalakshmi’ hit a wreckage while returning from Lakshadweep is attributed to the non-functioning of the Light House which was of great help to the fishermen in the past. This light house was constructed as early as 1862. An officer in the Department of Ports cited lack of supply of gas to operate the lights in the Light House. The in-charge person of this Light House has been given some other posting, it has been gathered.
Even the weather mast which signals and warns fishermen in the event of impending cyclones or storms is out of order. To add to the woes,the signal tower with VHF facility is also not operative for want of manpower. But the surprising aspect is that the Port Department still collects ‘Light Dues’ from the fishermen and cargo vessels based on the weight.
Meanwhile, sources say there were plans to hand over the Hoigebazar Lighthouse to a Union Government Department as done in cases of the light houses at Kundapur, Kaup and Suratkal.