War­rior ship Vi­raat left in the lurch

The Sunday Guardian - - Front Page - VINAYA DESH­PANDE MUM­BAI

The great his­toric war­ship INS Vi­raat, which was com­mis­sioned in the In­dian Navy in 1987, ran on her own steam for one last time last week. But as she re­mains berthed at the Cochin Ship­yard, her fu­ture looks un­cer­tain. Just a few months ago, she was promised of a grand fu­ture be­fit­ting a her­itage ship, which has served in many a war in the Bri­tish Royal Navy and then the In­dian Navy. But sources in the Min­istry of De­fence told The Sun­day Guardian that the Andhra Pradesh gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal on dock­ing the ship on its coast is still pend­ing with the Cen­tre, as the state has failed to give any firm pro­posal about the plan.

“We have not yet re­ceived any firm pro­posal from Andhra Pradesh, where they have said that they are will­ing to foot the bills to host the ship. They have sug­gested that they want some help from the Cen­tre. Their pro­posal is still pend­ing with the Cen­tre,” a highly placed of­fi­cial told this cor­re­spon­dent.

It can be rec­ol­lected that the Cen­tre had an­nounced trans­fer of the own­er­ship of ves­sel at the cost of Re 1. De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar had said that the Cen­tre would trans­fer the own­er­ship rights to a state gov­ern­ment and not to any pri­vate in­ter­ests. But the real ques­tion is the main­te­nance of the ves­sel. Naval of­fi­cials told The Sun­day Guardian that the state which buys the ves­sel will have to in­vest crores in main­tain­ing her and keep­ing her afloat. Vi­able and prof­itable com­mer­cial ven­tures can be eas­ily planned around her, but with an un­der­stand­ing that the re­turn on in­vest­ment will take a few years.

“She is still some time away from de­com­mis­sion­ing. She is cur­rently docked at the Co- chin Ship­yard for Es­sen­tial Re­pairs and Dry Dock­ing. Now, the Min­istry of De­fence has to give ap­proval for de­com­mis­sion­ing. The re­serve price of the ship will have to be de­cided by an ex­pert com­mit­tee. That price will have to be ap­proved by the MoD. It is af­ter this process that the ship can be de­com­mis­sioned,” a se­nior serv­ing of­fi­cer of the In­dian Navy said.

He said that usu­ally, the ship which is de­com­mis-

INS Vi­raat leaves Mum­bai har­bour for one last time.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.