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Maharashtra intends to acquire INS Viraat aircraft carrier

Maharashtra government will seek to acquire the decommissioned Aircraft Carrier INS Viraat and convert it into a maritime museum, state tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal said on Wednesday. It also plans to start a cruise circuit from Mumbai to Cochin and Maldives in the next two months. The cruise will be extended to Sri Lanka thereafter.

Speaking on the occasion of World Tourism Day, he said the government plans to berth the ship in the Vasai-Virar creek near Mumbai.

Other states including Goa and Andhra Pradesh too are in the race to acquire the ship. INS Viraat was decommissioned from the Navy earlier this year.

In the past, Maharashtra had made a failed bid to acquire aircraft carrier INS Vikrant with a plan to convert it into a museum after it was decommissioned in 1997.

The Minister also said that the government has asked the Customs Department to design 'Quick Response' (QR) code for all the heritage buildings in South Mumbai, instead of the state tourism department doing the job.

"Tourists can scan the QR code (through mobile phone) and hear (audio clip of) information about the building's history or download it," Mr Rawal said.

The Maharashtra government is joining hands with cruise ship company Carnival Cruise to bring cruise liners to the state's coast.

Mumbai-Cochin-Maldives cruise circuit, which will later cover Sri Lanka too, is likely to be inaugurated on November 24, the minister said.

The government is aiming to get 950 cruise ships to visit the state coast in the next four years, he said.


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