Mumbai: Retired Vice Admiral I C Rao,who was posted on INS Vikrant in 1975 for more than a year as chief engineer, today said that companies in Vishakapatnam are ready to convert the ship into a museum. Rao, however, said it should be kept in Mumbai, where it "originally belongs to".
"Companies in Vishakapatnam are ready to take care of the ship and and make it into a museum. Moving the ship here is a very difficult task, but can be done. But Mumbaikars should come forward and support," Rao told reporters here.
The ship was due to be scrapped after it was sold by the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy for Rs 60 crore through an e-auction to the Mumbai-based IB Commercials Pvt Ltd.
Through the `Save Vikrant Committee`, petitioner-activist Kiran Paigankar and other activists moved to the apex court in a bid to save the vessel which saw action in the 1971 India-Pakistan war and got a stay on the scrapping of the ship until July 17, 2014.
The matter will be heard in the Supreme Court tomorrow. Rao added that once the ship is docked in Mumbai, the ship can be made commercially viable, which will help in sustaining the museum.
"Once the ship is docked, invitations can be sent out to the corporate world to sponsor activities on board. In addition to the museum it can become a convention centre and made commercially viable. This will create a revenue stream by which a museum can be sustained," he said.
The Retired Admiral added that in addition to a museum, various other tourist facilities can be started there which can put Mumbai on the tourist`s map.
He appealed to the Maharashtra government to intervene and help in preventing the ship from being dismantled. "The Indian Navy took care of the ship for the last 15 years since it was decommissioned. With the help of government of Maharashtra, the Mumbai Port Trust and Indian Navy, the ship can be saved," Rao said.