Once hero, now ‘white elephant’: (Once a pride, INS Vagli lies unattended) Context:
- Decommissioned in 2010, the Russia-designed submarine INS Vagli currently lies idle at the Chennai port.
- She proudly served the Indian Navy and the nation for over 36 years.
- The maritime heritage museum was expected to be displayed on a 30-acre stretch of land near the Shore Temple of the UNESCO-declared World Heritage group of monuments.
- But the inability of a contractor to mount the submarine on the intended site at Mamallapuram has forced the vessel to lie idle at the Chennai port.
The planning and failure:
- In June 2012, The Tamil Nadu government, under Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had decided to set up the maritime museum with the INS Vagli, and senior Navy officials handed over the sumarine to it in April 2013.
- In April 2015, a petitioner moved the Madras High Court, seeking to find an alternative site for the museum, contending that the submarine being a huge piece of voluminous scrap had the potentiality of inviting lightning.
- A 2016 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India observed that an infructuous expenditure of Rs. 4.41 crore was incurred due to a lack of proper planning.
- In December 2016, the submarine was almost damaged when Cyclone Vardah hit the Chennai coast.