Karwar: Even after two years since the Defense Ministry agreed to give the decommissioned Navy aircraft TU 142M to Karwar, the Aircraft Museum continues to remain a distant reality.
Indian Navy's long-range maritime patrol aircraft TU 142M had played a key role in various operations and was decommissioned in 2017.
INS Chapal, a Chamak class missile boat of the Indian Navy that has been kept at the Ravindranath Tagore beach in Karwar is a major tourist attraction. When the TU 142 M was decommissioned in 2017, Karnataka government wanted to use the decommissioned TU 142M naval aircraft along side INS Chapal as exhibits and convert them into an aviation museum to draw tourists.
The defence minister had agreed to then chief minister Siddaramaiah’s proposal to use them as exhibits in a museum but is yet to become a reality due to huge investment required for setting up a museum. The government of Karnataka is expecting that the Indian Navy will invest partly in the museum project.The decommissioned aircraft has to be dismantled and brought to Karwar via sea. It has to be then refitted at a proposed site near the beach. The cost of transportation has now risen to about Rs 10-14 crore from the earlier estimated cost of Rs 7 crore. The monthly maintenance of the plane is expected to be high and is now enough reason for the state government to rethink about
investing in the project.
The government is of the view that the museum will become viable only if it is visited by a huge crowd.
Andhra Pradesh, which got one of the TU 142M planes has already converted into an aviation museum last year and succeeded in making it a tourist hub at Visakhapatnam. Officials said within a year the Andhra Pradesh government had got back the money that it had invested on the project.
"Karnataka government has agreed to give Rs 2 crore as its share and has asked the Navy to provide the remaining amount. This proposal has been sent to the defense ministry," Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area (FOK) Rear Adm Mahesh Singh said.
The other issue before the district administration is about the place where the aviation museum would be set up. Though the museum was to come up next to the warship museum, it may be difficult to rebuild and install the plane there as the place is congested once the flyover is built and road is widened.
The district administration wants to develop the aviation museum on the lines of Visakhapatnam aviation museum and make it a tourist destination.
"Last month, former minister R V Deshpande had met the Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh with a request to provide funds for the museum and also maintain it. District administration has also written to the FOK. The district administration is ready to provide alternative land for this museum where it can attract tourists," Deputy Commissioner Dr Harish Kumar told Deccan Chronicle.
"Project Sea bird is our pride. We already have a warship museum. Setting up an aviation museum would be an added attraction in Karwar, which in recent years has grown to become a tourist hub," he added....