The state is determined to get the Indian Museum Ship (IMS) Vikrant project off the ground despite failed bids and procedural delays over a decade.
But having burnt its finger with the last bid, this time round, the state and executing agency, Maharashtra Urban Infrastructure Development Company (MUINFRA) are working to ensure the developers focus more on the maritime museum and not added commercial ventures such as restaurants, theatres or convention centres.
On Thursday, the apex co-ordination committee, comprising of senior naval and state government officials decided to give the project another shot by restructuring it. MUINFRA will call for fresh bids within a month seeking private partners to convert the 1997 decommissioned aircraft carrier into a maritime museum.
At the last instance in April, none of the short listed five bidders — HCC Infrastructure, Srei Infrastructure, Kalpataru Power, Dhoot Developers and Zoom Developers — turned up for the financial bids for the Rs 450-500 crore project.
The state government decided not to extend the bid period, since it was not convinced about the developers’ interest in maritime museum.
“Our main concern while talking to developers last time was that they were not sharing the vision we had for IMS Vikrant. They were more interested in commercial ventures than the museum,” said Ajay Saxena, Public-Private-Partnership expert of the state government.
To make the project commercially viable, the developer is allowed to exploit nearly 2 lakh sq-feet of space by building certain permissible activities — restaurants, convention center, theatre on the 20-000 tonne, five-storey ship. To ensure the developers have expertise and interest in the museum, the bid will ask for certain mandatory features in the museum, on the lines of international models.
The developers will have to submit designs of the proposed museum and evolve commercial model around the museum instead of vice versa. Officials hope the fresh bidding process would give an opportunity to get new firms that had expertise in shipping works.