Naval museum not in ship-shape

INS Chapal part of Indian flotilla that shelled Karachi harbour setting it on fire

in the dock: INS Chapal on Rabindranath Tagore Beach in Karwar. dh photoIn view of the Naval Base being set up in Karwar, the Defence Ministry handed over the missile boat to the district administration.

Commissioned by the Indian Navy in 1976 and decommissioned in 2005,  INS Chapal patrolled the Indian sea coast. The 245-tonne ship (on full load) has a length of 38.6 metres, beam of 7.6 metres and speed of 37 knots.

Ship rusting

The task of maintaining the museum ship was vested in the Bal Bhavan Committee under the chairmanship of the deputy commissioner. But negligence on the part of the Bal Bhavan, has left the ship rusting.

Exposed to constant heat and rain, the ship has started leaking and water is seeping into the engine room, control room, radar room, kitchen and commander’s room, and the equipment inside them are rusting.

As the Bal Bhavan Committee does not have enough funds for the maintenance of the museum ship, it was handed over to the district administration on July 12. With the available funds, the administration has managed to cover the ship with a plastic cover.

Visitors to the ship museum have to pay an entrance fee. It has been estimated that over the last six years about Rs 25 lakh has been collected as entrance fees.
Except for spending money on cleaning the garden around the museum and staff salaries, no other expenditure has been made.

The ship is an object of study for students of mechanical and electrical engineering from engineering colleges and polytechnics.

Video presentation

Visitors to the museum are treated to a video presentation on the big screen which is informative and gives details of the Indo-Pak conflict of 1971, when INS Chapal destroyed the Karachi harbour beyond recognition forcing Pakistan to surrender.

However, the video presentations have been cancelled for the four months after the projector developed a glitch and no efforts are being made to repair it.

Vinay, a visitor to the museum ship, was disappointed that he could not see the ship as it is now covered with plastic. “I had come with great enthusiasm only to be disappointed”, he said.

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