The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) is seriously contemplating setting up a maritime heritage museum either in Mamallapuram or on the Marina by making use of decommissioned submarine, INS Vagli, which is now in Visakhapatnam.
According to official sources, the government order for erecting submarine INS Vagli on a special platform at Mamallapuram was issued on June 11. A sum of Rs.10 crore was sanctioned for shifting the vessel. The submarine, decommissioned after 36 years of service on December 9, 2010, is currently docked at the Naval base in Visakhapatnam.
Talking to The Hindu, sources said “We have received a no-objection certificate from the Defence Ministry to get the decommissioned vessel to be towed from the Visakhapatnam dockyard. As it is our maiden attempt, we will be seeking the help of experts to bring the vessel, haul it ashore and erect it on a special platform. Some modifications will have to be carried out on the vessel to enable the visitors to enter and have a look at the engineering marvel. Tenders will be floated soon for this purpose.”
“If everything goes as per plan, the proposed museum should be ready within 18 months. The proposed museum will be executed in a phased manner under the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer mode. It will have facilities such as marine technology, food courts, audio-visual studio, souvenir shops and aquarium,” the sources said.
While it might not be difficult to set up the maritime heritage museum in Mamallapuram as it owns 30 acres of land abutting the beach near the Shore Temple, the TTDC has to get the State government’s help to acquire some piece of land on the Marina, the sources indicated. It may be pointed out that Visakhapatnam has the distinction of converting a decommissioned submarine (INS Kursura) into a museum a decade ago. Taking a cue from it, representatives of chambers of commerce and industry in Chennai have been urging the State government to grant them a piece of land to set the museum-ship on the Marina.