A carrier that served the Indian Navy for 30 years before being decommissioned three years ago, will reach Alang in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district tomorrow.
The warship will be dismantled and sold as scrap. The longest-serving warship, inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987, was bought by Shree Ram Group for Rs 38.54 crore at an auction conducted by the Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Limited last month.
INS Viraat, the second Centaur-class aircraft carrier, was in service for 30 years before being decommissioned in March 2017.
There were proposals in the past to preserve it as a maritime museum.
In July last year, the central government said in Parliament that the decision to scrap INS Viraat was taken in due consultation with the Indian Navy.
The aircraft carrier, in its earlier avatar, had won the Falklands War against Argentina in 1982 for the Royal British Navy.
It weighs about 27,800 tonnes and served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes from November 1959 to April 1984 and after refurbishment, was commissioned into the Indian Navy.
In the late 80s, the Indian Navy purchased it at a cost of USD 65 million and it was re-commissioned on May 12, 1987.
INS Viraat is the second aircraft carrier to be broken down in India.
In 2014, INS Vikrant was dismantled in Mumbai.
In a bid to try one last time to preserve INS Viraat as a maritime museum, BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar took to Twitter to garner support for the cause.
He wrote, “I want to try one last attempt to save #INSViraat Flag of India. Wud Reliance, TATA, Adani, Wipro, HCL, Mahindra, Uday Kotak, Poonawalla, Tech companies like Infosys consider contributing to a trust to preserve our history? I rqst my media friends to amplify this appeal (sic).”
As Rajeev Chandrasekhar posted his thoughts on Twitter many supported him and shared his tweet requesting government to preserve the warship.