With dismantling of INS Viraat being carried out at the Alang ship-breaking yard, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi on Monday wrote to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, saying the Maharashtra government was “happy to cooperate in restoring and preserving the historical ship”. The Rajya Sabha MP also requested Singh’s immediate intervention to “grant NOC to preserve INS Viraat”.
Chaturvedi said INS Viraat served as India’s aircraft carrier for nearly 30 years. “It has been the pride of our seas and our Indian Navy. To see it sold as scrap and dismembered will be a huge disservice to our naval legacy. With RM’s NOC, a memorial on INS Viraat will be a reality,” her post read.
INS Viraat served India for nearly 30 years. It has been the pride of our seas&our Indian Navy. To see it sold as scrap&dismembered will be a huge disservice to our naval legacy. With RM’s NOC, a memorial on INS Viraat will be a reality. My letter to Shri @rajnathsingh ji on this pic.twitter.com/iJWthzjhVO
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) December 14, 2020
“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,” Chaturvedi said in her letter. “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 added.
“INS Viraat is a historic ship that has spanned the history of naval architecture from World War II and also served as the foundation of Indian naval power. INS Viraat proved pivotal in Operation Jupiter and was deployed during Operation Parakram following the terror attack on the Indian Parliament, we commemorated the incident just yesterday, December 13,” she wrote.
INS Viraat is the second aircraft carrier to be broken in India in the last six years. For a week now, dismantling of the carrier has been on at the Alang ship-breaking yard in Bhavnagar, with over 250 workers starting work from the “ski jump”, or the curved ramp, side, from where aircraft used to take off from the ship. “About 5 per cent of the ship has already been broken,” said Mukesh Patel, Chairman of the Shree Ram Group which bought INS Viraat as scrap.
In a last-ditch bid, a private company, Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt Ltd, offered to buy INS Viraat from the Shree Ram Group and convert it into a museum. However, the company could not procure a no-objection certificate from the Centre or reach a formal agreement with the shipbreaker.