New Delhi: The government on Monday introduced a bill in Rajya Sabha to replace a nine-decade-old law governing lighthouses as technological changes are taking place at a fast pace in marine navigation.
Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal moved the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021, in Rajya Sabha.
The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on March 22, 2021.
The Marine Aids to Navigation Bill seeks to provide for a fresh framework to establish and manage vessel traffic services, besides changing the use of the term marine aids to navigation.
”This will ensure compliance with obligations under maritime treaties and international instruments, to which India is a party and for matters connected therewith…,” said Sonowal while moving the bill.
The government plans to turn old lighthouses into tourist destinations to showcase the country’s rich history in navigation.
It aims at repealing the colonial-era Lighthouse Act, 1927, and provides for empowering the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) with additional power and functions.
The bill provides for empowering the DGLL with additional power and functions such as vessel traffic service, wreck flagging, training and certification, implementation of other obligations under international conventions where India is a signatory.
It comprises a new schedule of offences, along with commensurate penalties for obstructing and damaging the aids to navigation, and non-compliance with directives issued by the Central government and other bodies.
With the advent of modern technologically improved aids to maritime navigation, the role of authorities regulating and operating maritime navigation has changed drastically, the statement said.
The proposed legislation encompasses a major shift from lighthouses to modern aids of navigation.