New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Wednesday puts on hold the dismantling of India's longest-serving decommissioned aircraft carrier 'INS Viraat', which was in service of the Indian Navy for nearly three decades. The Supreme Court's decision came after hearing a plea filed by a firm seeking to convert the aircraft carrier into a maritime museum and multi-functional adventure centre.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, also issued notice to the Centre and the firm which bought INS Viraat from the government to be turned into scrap. The firm, Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt Ltd, had offered to buy the decommissioned aircraft carrier for Rs 100 crore to turn it into a museum.

The firm proposed to dock INS Viraat in the Zuari river in Goa after turning it into a museum. The Goa government has also reportedly come on board for the project and written to the Ministry of Defence in this regard. A large portion of the warship has already been dismantled.

The centaur-class aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, was in service with the Indian Navy for 29 years before being decommissioned in March 2017. The warship was brought by Shree Ram Group of Industries, a Gujarat-based shipbreaker company, from the Indian Navy for scrap.

The Centre had in July 2019 informed the Parliament that decision to scrap Viraat was taken after due consultation with the Indian Navy. The company had at that time also opposed any proposal to sell the warship to another company which wants to convert it into a museum.

The INS Viraat, commissioned on November 18, 1959 by the British Royal Army as HMS Heremes, saw action during the Falklands War in 1982. The warship was brought by the Indian Navy in 1986 and since then the warship was the Navy's centerpiece, sailing 5,88,287 nautical miles. This means it has spent seven years in sea, circumnavigating the globe 27 times.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan