Describing iconic INS Vikrant’s reduction into scrap as ‘misfortune’ of the country, the Shiv Sena today said the decommissioned warship that helped India win the 1971 battle against Pakistan, lost the fight for survival against its own countrymen.
“Every man in the country was against the scrapping of this ship and wanted it (INS Vikrant) to be converted into a museum. We could not accumulate Rs 100-500 crore required to save this ship from being reduced to scrap. This can only be described as misfortune of the country.
The ship that helped India achieve a huge victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war, lost the war of survival against its own countrymen. We regret that we could not see the pain of the ship’s defeat on the faces of politicians,” the Sena said in an edit in its mouthpiece Saamana.
Earlier, the Maharashtra government had expressed its inability to maintain INS Vikrant, which was decommissioned in January 1997.
In January 2014, during the hearing of a PIL which opposed the plan to scrap the ship, the Defence Ministry told the Bombay High Court that this majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy had completed its operational life.
After the SC dismissed activist Kiran Paingankar’s PIL on August 14, IB Commercials, the firm which had bought the ship in a scrap auction, set about securing various port and environmental permissions, all of which were done by last week following which the scrapping of the war hero began at ship-breaking yard here.
The Sena said that several industrialists have ‘looted’ various banks to build their business empires, but the government had failed to recover money from such businessmen.
“There are many businessmen who have looted banks to create their business empires but the government did not gather the courage to recover that money from them. These tycoons remove their money bags during the election season and we all know who benefits from them. Inspite of so much money, we could not gather Rs 100 crore to save a legacy?” the Sena asked.
INS Vikrant joined the Indian fleet at Bombay on November 3, 1961. It was India’s only carrier for over 20 years, but by the early 1990s she was effectively out of service because of her poor condition.
Often referred to as the ‘Old Lady of Indain Navy’, INS Vikrant was decommissioned on January 31, 1997.