INS Viraat, the aircraft carrier the Indian Navy just decommissioned, could end up an underwater tourist attraction off the Konkan coast if the Maharashtra government’s plans go through. Otherwise, the Viraat, which was for long the Navy’s flagship, could end up being sold for scrap.
The proposal, put up by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), is to tow the ship into position somewhere in the Konkan and sink it and turn it into an underwater destination. All over the world, ‘wreck diving’ is a major attraction for scuba divers. Besides, over the years, the ship would turn into a healthy artificial reef and habitat for marine life.
“It seems like a good idea, but we will have to first check if it is financially and technically feasible. There was a similar proposal to turn the INS Vikrant into a museum, but it just lingered on and did not work out, so we want to cautiously take a call on this one. We will vet the proposal, but a final call can only be taken by the chief minister,” said a tourism department official.
The proposal originated from the private company that runs the state government’s scuba diving centre at Tarkarli in Sindhudurg district.