In a letter to the Defence Ministry, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has said the Maharashtra government is “happy to cooperate in restoring and preserving the historical ship” INS Viraat, which served as India’s aircraft carrier.
“It was with great sadness and concern [that] I read that the scrapping of the historic INS Viraat has been initiated at Alang in Gujarat,” Ms Chaturvedi said.
The letter, which asks the Defence Ministry for a no-objection certificate to preserve Viraat, comes at a time when the decommissioned warship is being pulled ashore by a ship-breaker in Alang before it is destroyed for scrap.
Envitech, the private firm that wants to acquire the warship and convert it into a maritime museum off Goa, approached the Supreme Court today after it became apparent the NOC would not be coming from the Defence Ministry, even though the ship had been sold to Shree Ram shipbreakers in Alang for Rs 35.8 crore.
The chairman of Shree Ram shipbreakers, Mukesh Patel, refuses to part with the ship without a government NOC.
“If there is a [government sanctioned] no-objection certificate and they [Envitech] send full payment in one shot, then it is possible,” Mukesh Patel told NDTV yesterday. The full payment for the ship is expected to be in the range of Rs 110 crore.
In the letter addressed to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today, Ms Chaturvedi said, “We as a nation must use our decommissioned naval ships to help citizens to better understand the significance of India’s maritime history.”
“It saddens me further to note that though there is an offer to convert the warship into a maritime museum, it awaits a no-objection certificate from the Ministry of Defence for transfer of the warship,” she said.
Priyanka Chaturvedi’s Letter On Navy Warship Viraat by NDTV on Scribd
In a series of reports, NDTV has highlighted the plight of Viraat, the decommissioned Indian Navy warship which was India’s flagship for several decades and came to define India’s maritime power.
Before being commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1986, Viraat served as HMS Hermes in the Royal Navy where she fought with distinction in the Falkland Islands war in 1982 in the south Atlantic.