Union Ministry of Defence on 16 January 2014 justified its decision to scrap INS Vikrant to High Court of Mumbai. The ministry said that the ship has completed its operational life and the decision of scrapping it in the best interest of the naval services of India to dispose it instead of preserving. INS Vikrant is the first aircraft carrier of India.
The hull (body) of Vikrant is over 70 years old and it was decommissioned on the completion of its operational life. At this stage the ship cannot be repaired or refurbished economically and its maintenance and berthing of such ship requires a heavy expenditure of public funds, mentioned an affidavit of the Ministry of Defence. The affidavit also mentioned that the Indian Navy has spent 22 crore rupees on the repairs and dry cocking of the ship and has been preserving and maintaining INS Vikrant till date.
It also mentions that in 1998 the Maharashtra Government proposed to the defence ministry to converse it into a museum is pending and a considerable amount has been spent in maintaining the ship. State government has neither arranged an alternate berth for the ship nor accepts the responsibility of safety of the ship and failed to convert it into a museum. The affidavit was filed by Admiral Shankar Mathur, the Chief Staff Officer of the Western Naval Command.
This affidavit was filed following public interest litigation (PIL) that demands to preserve and convert the first aircraft carrier of India into a maritime museum. The PIL also sought a direction of the Union Government for not auctioning the ship as scrap. It also seeks quashing of the tender by the ministry that states auction of the ship as scraps on 29 January 2014.
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