14 yrs on, decks cleared for floating naval museum | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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14 yrs on, decks cleared for floating naval museum

If all goes well today, you will soon be able to enjoy a boat ride to go to the Oyster Rock at Colaba, where the 700-feet-long IMS Vikrant will be grounded, just to have dinner on board the country’s first aircraft carrier.

mumbai Updated: Sep 27, 2011 01:20 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

If all goes well today, you will soon be able to enjoy a boat ride to go to the Oyster Rock at Colaba, where the 700-feet-long IMS Vikrant will be grounded, just to have dinner on board the country’s first aircraft carrier.

The much awaited makeover process for the proposed Rs400-crore conversion of the decommissioned aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, into a maritime museum is all set to start afresh. The state government will open the financial bids for converting the carrier into a museum on Tuesday.

The naval carrier was decommissioned on January 31, 1997 and the state government had proposed to convert it into a first-of-its-kind floating museum on the same day.

Two bidders — Amby Valley and Akruti City — are in the race, official sources said. “We will open the financial bids on Tuesday. The bid will then be evaluated by a joint apex committee, consisting of Navy and the state government officials, before we ask the bidder to go ahead with the project,” said Ashwini Bhide, joint managing director of Maharashtra Urban Infrastructure Development Company.

In April 2010, the bidding process failed after five shortlisted bidders — HCC Infrastructure, Srei Infrastructure, Kalpataru Power, Dhoot Developers and Zoom Developers — did not turn up for the financial bids for the Rs450-Rs500 crore project.

The state was hoping to rope in a private investor to transform the five-storey, 16,000 tonne warship into a museum featuring a convention centre, a restaurant and maybe even a mall.

The state government then invited fresh bids for the project in September 2010, after changing some parameters.

Government officials claim that the earlier bid did not put much emphasis on building a museum and potential bidders were more interested in the commercial aspect of the project. The state government also decided not to extend the bid period, since it was not convinced about the developers’ interest in the project.