Shipped to the scrap heap

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Jul 9, 2013.



    Sep 22, 2012
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    Detroit MI
    India's first aircraft carrier, the Vikrant, is finally set to sail into the sunset. Defence Minister A.K. Antony recently approved the sale of the retired aircraft carrier as scrap. This follows the failure of decade-long plans to convert the warship into a Rs.600-crore floating museum in Mumbai. Defence ministry officials said final orders for disposing the carrier as scrap are to be signed by Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh.

    The main reason for the failure of the museum project, however, lies in a bitter dispute between the Navy and the Maharashtra government over using the ship as a floating helipad. The Navy opposed the state government's proposal to site the warship-heliport off Oyster Rock near the Gateway of India. This was because the project would be adjacent to its helicopter base INS Shikra in Colaba. "That airspace is extremely sensitive for us and this is also the reason we had opposed any helicopter flights from the rooftop of the Ambani private residence (the 27-storeyed Antilia)," a senior naval official told India Today. The state government says the Rs.600-crore project to transform it into a museum would not be commercially viable if helicopter operations were not permitted. In a December 11, 2012 letter to then defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, state Chief Secretary J.K. Banthia said it was difficult to remain committed to the project without active financial support from the Navy. The unresolved impasse over the site-the Navy wanted it moved up to Navi Mumbai or Cuffe Parade-stalled the project.

    The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority's (MMRDA) ppp hit a roadblock when two companies shortlisted for the project, the Aamby Valley Limited and Ackruti Developers Limited, pulled out of the project in January 2012.

    The 18,000-tonne light aircraft carrier was built as the HMS Hercules for the Royal Navy during the Second World War. It was completed and refurbished for the Indian Navy which bought the warship in 1961. The Vikrant served in the Navy for 36 years, particularly in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The carrier is presently anchored at the naval dockyard in Mumbai. It has been here since it was retired from service in 1997 and the Navy wanted to convert it into a museum. An intervention by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in 1998 saw the then Sena-BJP government sanction Rs.6.5 crore for the repair of the warship.

    The warship was converted into the Indian Museum Ship, INS Vikrant, in 2000 though the Navy said it would only be a temporary move. After a decade of limited public access, the Vikrant museum was finally closed three years ago. The Navy expressed fears about the perilous state of the aircraft carrier's aging hull but refused to spend an estimated Rs.22 crore on repairs because it was unsure of the state government's commitment.

    Though the warship was transferred to the Maharashtra government in the 1990s, it is being maintained by the Navy. Naval officials say the 700-foot-long warship is taking up valuable berthing space inside the naval dockyard and is a drain on resources and manpower. "We barely have enough funds to maintain our existing warships," a senior naval official said.
    The name of the historic warship will, however, not die. The 38,000-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, currently under construction at the Kochi Shipyard and set to be launched on August 20 this year, will also be called the INS Vikrant.

    Read more at: Shipped to the scrap heap: Defence ministry signs death warrant for India's first aircraft carrier : NATION - India Today
  3. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 24, 2010
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    one question. is it necessary to put the aircraft carrier museum in mumbai? cant we save it and ship it to some other city. the museum is not maharashtra's property and thus can be relocated.
    mahesh likes this.

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