The new owner of decommissioned warship INS Viraat has sought Rs 100 crore from a Mumbai-based firm which is making last ditch efforts to save the warship from being dismantled and to convert it into a museum.
INS Viraat, the aircraft carrier which was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987 and decommissioned in 2017, was purchased at an auction in July this year, by Shree Ram Group for a sum of Rs 38.54 crore.
The warship, which is the symbol of India’s rich maritime heritage, reached the ship-breaking yard at Alang on Gujarat coast last week.
Since the ship was bought as scrap in an auction, aspiring buyers would need to procure a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Defence to own the ship now, said Shree Ram Group Chairman Mukesh Patel to the media.
“I bought this warship just out of my love for my country. Now, a Mumbai-based company wants to convert this ship it into a museum. Since they are also doing it out of patriotism, I agreed to sell the ship to them,” he said.
“But, they need to first procure NOC from the defence ministry, without which I can’t re-sell the ship,” he added.
Patel also said he first demanded Rs 125 crore and then agreed to sell it for Rs 100 crore considering that the company’s cause is noble.
Patel also said it is a limited period offer and he would wait only till next week.
“I am told the interested firm is trying hard to get the NOC. But I can’t wait forever. I will wait for another week. After that, I will start the dismantling process,” he added.
V K Sharma, the managing director of Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt Ltd, has shown interest in buying the warship.
The 70-year-old aircraft carrier, in its earlier avatar, had won the Falklands War against Argentina in 1982 for the Royal British Navy.
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