The Maharashtra government is willing to help restore and preserve “the historical ship” INS Viraat, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said on Monday, NDTV reported. In a letter to the defence ministry, Chaturvedi sought a no-objection certificate to preserve the decommissioned 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,” Chaturvedi wrote. “We as a nation must use our decommissioned naval ships to help citizens to better understand the significance of India’s maritime history.”
She urged Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to immediately intervene and grant a no-objection certificate to save the carrier, according to ANI.
“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.”— Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi
The ship was decommissioned by the Indian Navy in March 2017 after it served for three decades. In July 2020, the Ministry of Defence sold the 23,900-tonne INS Viraat for Rs 38.54 crore to Shree Ram Group, a shipbreaking company based in Alang in Gujarat. Currently, it is being pulled ashore.
Chaturvedi’s letter came on the same day when a private firm approached the Supreme Court to acquire the warship and convert it into a maritime museum in Goa. Earlier, the Ministry of Defence had turned down a proposal from Envitech, a private firm, to preserve the ship.
Shree Ram Group chairperson Mukesh Patel said they will hand over the ship only after they get an NOC from the government and full payment. “If there is a [government sanctioned] no-objection certificate and they [Envitech] send full payment in one shot, then it is possible,” Patel had told NDTV on Sunday. The full payment for the ship is expected to be around Rs 110 crore.