Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DDA eyeing Navy submarine for museum


The Times of India
April 16, 2008

NEW DELHI: So what if the Capital is thousands of miles away from the sea? If the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has its way, Delhiites will soon have an added attraction on their must-see list in the form of a submarine. The Indian Navy has offered DDA one of the two Russian-made Foxtrot submarines it plans to decommission soon. The idea is to use the mammoth seacraft - 92 metres in length - to create a submarine museum which will be an educational and tourist attraction in the run-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Having decided in principle to accept the Navy's offer, DDA is now working on the modalities of who would bear the cost of transporting the submarine from its present base in Vishakhapatnam. A DDA team recently visited the southern port town where the country's first submarine museum was set up by the development authority there. The museum today is a major tourist attraction and boasts of a decommissioned submarine. The idea is that instead of letting decommissioned submarines rot as scrap, it is better to use them for educational purposes.

DDA's director public relations Neemo Dhar told TOI that in principle DDA has decided to opt for the offer. "But first we want to work out the modalities of bringing the submarine to Delhi and the cost involved. Also the location where the craft will be placed too has to be finalised," Dhar said.

According to senior officials, DDA has carried out inspections of various green spaces under its purview like the Millennium Park, the Swarn Jayanti Park in Rohini and another location in Dwarka but as of now a large open space near the Delhi-Noida-Delhi flyover has emerged as a plausible option for setting up the mega museum. The location has another plus to its credit as it falls along the route of the yet to be built elevated road over the Barapulla drain, connecting the Games Village to the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium. If the submarine is located in the open space along this route then it will be visible to players who will use the stretch during the 2010 Games.

In the proposed museum, visitors will be introduced to the internal mechanisms of a submarine and it is likely that officials from the Navy will themselves be stationed there to impart technical information.

The Indian Navy acquired eight Foxtrot submarines between 1964 and 1974. Six of them have already been decommissioned. As of now the Navy has two of these sea crafts - INS Vela and INS Vagli - which are functional. One of these is likely to be decommissioned soon and would be the one to be handed over to the DDA for the museum. These submarines cost around Rs 75 crore and require a crew of 75, led by eight Naval officials.

The Indian Navy has 16 submarines as of now. These include 10 kilo class Russian submarines, four HDW submarines from Germany and two Foxtrot submarines.



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