The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered status quo on demolition of India’s decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The top court’s order comes in the backdrop of a campaign on social media to save the warship and convert it into a maritime heritage museum. A petition was also filed in the apex court seeking a stay order on the dismantling of the carrier.
Notably, around 30 per cent dismantling work of ‘Viraat’ has been completed and the entire vessel is expected to be dismantled in nine months. Mukesh Patel, Chairman of the Shree Ram Group at Alang in Bhavnagar district which bought Viraat at an auction in July last year for Rs 38.54 crore, said the firm began the dismantling process in December. The world’s longest serving warship was decommissioned by the Indian Navy four years ago. It is being dismantled with the help of around 300 trained workers at one of the plots owned by ship breaking firm. Viraat had reached the Alang ship breaking yard from Mumbai in September. The centaur-class aircraft carrier was in service with the Indian Navy for 29 years before being decommissioned in March 2017. The Centre in July 2019 informed the Parliament that the decision to scrap Viraat was taken after due consultation with the Indian Navy.