If all goes well, historic naval carrier INS Vikrant will soon find itself in the list of Mumbai’s top tourist attractions. Two bidders, Amby Valley and Akruti City, are now front-runners in the race to win the project of converting the naval carrier into a first of its kind floating maritime museum.
A joint apex committee, comprising Navy and state government officials and headed by the chief secretary, will decide who should be awarded the much-delayed project.
“We will be evaluating the financial bids submitted by Amby Valley and Akruti City. We hope to select the bid by June. Hopefully, work on the project should start by end of this year,” a senior state government official said.
During the second round of evaluation, the committee will evaluate Amby Valley and Akruti City on their financial soundness. Both the bidders are said to have quoted more than Rs600 crore for the project.
INS Vikrant, India’s most well known aircraft carrier, had taken on the Pakistani Navy during the 1971 war. After serving the Indian Navy for 36 years, it was decommissioned in 1997.
A proposal had been mooted by the state government in 1997 to convert the ship into a commercially viable maritime museum with the help of a private investor.
The state was hoping to transform the five-storeyed, 16,000 tonne warship, into a museum featuring a convention centre, a restaurant and even a mall.
However, the government was unable to award the project to any bidder. Government officials claimed that during the earlier tendering process, bidders did not emphasise much on the quality of the proposed museum in their proposal and instead only focused on the commercial gains they stood to make.
In September 2010, the state government re-tendered the project after changing a few bidding parameters. Under the new terms, the bidders had to submit designs for the museum to the committee for which they were awarded technical points. Only bidders who achieved the requisite number of points were allowed to go in for financial bidding.