The whole saga of whether or not the AP government will take ownership of INS Viraat and set it up as a museum in Visakhapatnam has been one for the popcorn lovers. But AP tourism department sources have reportedly stated that the state government is still keen on establishing the museum in the port city. The AP tourism authorities have also invited bids for the same.
The bids invited are for the appointment of project management consultants who will prepare a detailed project report for refurbishment of the aircraft carrier. The requirement of project management consultants was floated last week and the department is interested in finding personnel who will assist in vetting the proposed project report, liaise with the Indian Navy, take charge of the towing preparation and organise the crew for hauling it to the city.
Consultants will also be involved in assisting the AP tourism department in preparing a detailed scope of work regarding the preparation of the project report and also assist the shortlisting process of DPR consultants. They will also be helping with developing a staffing schedule and enrolling sailors for hauling in the ship from Mumbai to Kakinada and anchoring there before coming in to Visakhapatnam.
Furthermore, they will help in the collection of memorabilia for the museum that is to be set aboard INS Viraat. The project is now live and the DPR will be preparing plans for civil works and refurbishment of the aircraft carrier. Tourism Secretary N Srikanth had previously stated that the government is looking to go ahead with this plan in a PPP mode. The department has proposed 15 projects to get partners under the PPP mode. If the Ministry of Defence accepts the proposal, the carrier will be placed at a special jetty near Bheemili.
The AP government will most probably end up preserving the ship as a floating museum cum convention centre with commercial spaces.