TN team visits Vizag to study museum
By Express News Service | Published: 14th September 2013 08:16 AM |
Efforts to set up the Heritage Maritime Museum at coastal Mamallapuram gained momentum with a delegation from the TN Tourism Department making a visit to Visakhapatnam to have a first hand account of a similar facility in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
The flourishing coastal city of Vizag, headquarters to the Eastern Naval Command, also houses the Kurusura Submarine Museum, a prime tourist attraction. Tamil Nadu Tourism Minister S P Shanmughanathan led the team that made the visit.
According to sources in the Tourism Department, the trip was made to ascertain how the conversion work had been done, so that additional improvements could be carried out.
Interestingly, INS Vagli, the oldest operational submarine of the Navy, is being converted into the Heritage Maritime Museum. Decommissioned in December 2010 after 36 years of service, it had reached the city from Vizag in late March this year. The State Government has allocated `10 crore to convert it into a museum on a sprawling 30-acre site on the seafront adjacent to the famed shore temple, which is also a World Heritage Site.
The sources said that the upcoming museum would also have facilities like marine technology, food courts, audio-visual studio, souvenir shops, aquarium and a toilet complex. It will be planned and executed in a phased manner on the build-own-operate-and-transfer model.
The submarine, a Foxtrot class submarine Type 641B, was commissioned by then Lieutenant Commander Lalit Talwar in August 1974 at Riga, Latvia, in the erstwhile Soviet Union. She was the first of the ‘Vela’ class of submarines to be commissioned into the Indian Navy and is probably the oldest submarine of its class in the world. It is definitely the oldest unit in the Indian Navy.
In her operational life, she has participated in almost all major tactical exercises off sea boards and elsewhere. The first submarine to be based at Mumbai, Vagli was later shifted to Visakhapatnam in 1993. Even in its last operational cycle, she completed 137 days at sea and 1232 dived hours. That the Indian Navy was able to operate a boat of this vintage so effectively also bears testimony to the dedication and skills of generations of maintainers and operators.