The Maharashtra government on Monday, December 14, urged the centre to give a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the transfer of the decommissioned aircraft carrier Viraat, which is being dismantled at Alang in Gujarat. The air craft carrier will be converted into a museum.
In a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, party MP Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote, "It would be a crying shame if we let go our history without giving the benefit of knowledge to our future generation."
"Viraat's preservation is well merited and deserving of strong consideration. It can be saved if the Government of India so desires. I am certain that the Maharashtra Government will be ready to cooperate in restoring and preserving the historic ship," the MP wrote.
Viraat, the world's longest serving warship that was decommissioned by the Indian Navy three years ago, arrived off the Alang coast in Gujarat for dismantling in September 2020.
Viraat also served as HMS Hermes in the Royal Navy where she fought in the Falkland Islands war in 1982 in the south Atlantic.
The warship was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987 after it was purchased by Shree Ram Group for a sum of Rs 38.54 crore at an auction in July this year.
It is the second aircraft carrier to be dismantled in India. In 2014, Vikrant was dismantled in Mumbai.
"Let Viraat be a living, breathing and thriving memorial of India's nationalism, patriotism and pride. Let us be preservers than destroyers of our rich history," Chaturvedi said. "Granting the NoC would help save the ship. We must use our decommissioned naval ships to help citizens better understand the significance of India's maritime history."
There were also several proposals in the past to preserve the aircraft carrier as a maritime museum.
In July 2019, the Centre said in Parliament that the decision to scrap Viraat was taken in due consultation with the Indian Navy.