Rock-like objects near shore a hurdle to towing decommissioned submarine INS Vagli

Visitors to Mamallapuram will have to wait for two more years to get a glimpse of maritime heritage museum, as the decommissioned submarine – INS Vagli – will be towed to the final destination only by January 2014.

A tourism official said that as per the original plan, the submarine was to be towed to Mamallapuram from Chennai Port by September and the museum project would be completed in 18 months. But, the project suffered a setback due to the delay in choosing a consultant.

Also, as part the plan, the decommissioned submarine, which arrived from Visakhapatnam on March 25, would be placed on a specially erected platform, abutting the beach near the Mamallapuram shore temple.

Said to be the first-of-its-kind project, the museum is being established by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) with the help of a PPP operator. TTDC obtained clearances from the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board in July and conducted seismic survey and soil test. Now, it has to obtain Coastal Regulatory Zone clearances from various committees in the district and State.

According to the sources, the seismic survey and soil test were completed in due time. The survey indicated the presence of rock-like objects (or remaining portion of shore temple) near the shore. Hence, the officials concerned were asked to chart a new route so that no damage was caused to the submarine as well as to the structure.

“In three days, the submarine can be towed to Mamallapuram from Chennai Port. Thereafter, it might take about 10 days to move the submarine to the site, which is about 210 metres from the shore.

The museum will have facilities such as food courts, an audio-visual studio, souvenir shops and aquarium,” the official said.

Expressing concern over the slow progress, another official said all it required was a good PPP operator to kick-start the plan.

The project could be divided into two parts – submarine museum and heritage museum. As Mamallapuram receives a huge number of visitors, they should be allowed to have a look at the submarine museum, while the heritage museum can wait.

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