Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has on Monday written to Union Defence Minister seeking his immediate intervention to grant the NOC to preserve aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
For the uninitiated, the dismantling of INS Viraat is being carried out for a week now at the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat's Bhavnagar. "About 5 per cent of the ship has already been broken," Mukesh Patel, Chairman of the Shree Ram Group which bought INS Viraat as scrap told the Indian Express. The now-decommissioned aircraft carrier was bought by the Shree Ram Group for Rs 38.50 crore in an auction.
"It was with great sadness and concern I read that the scrapping of historic INS Viraat has been initiated at Alang in Gujarat. INS Viraat, the flagship of the Indian Navy till 2013 has served our nation for almost 30 years. INS Viraat is a historic ship that has spanned the history of naval architecture from World War II and 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, 13th December," Chaturvedi wrote.
Recounting the majestic history of the aircraft carrier, whose motto translates to, 'who controls the sea is powerful', the Shiv Sena MP said that today it has been made "powerless and is being broken down and dismembered to be sold as scrap". "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, however it awaits a no-objection certificate from the Ministry of Defence for transfer of the warship," she added.
The Shiv Sena MP further stated that Chief Minsiter Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government "would be happy to cooperate in restoring and preserving the historical ship". "Let INS Viraat be a living, breathing and thriving memorial of India's nationalism, patriotism and pride. Let us be preservers than destroyers of our rich history. Hence, it is my humble submission to kindly grant the NOC that would help preserve INS Viraat," she said at the end of the letter.