I know signing petitions and all is doubtfully helpful. Yet as a sincere but not much hopeful attempt, I have a petition for you to sign. My father served on this ship as a seaman and so followed the recent news of Maharashtra governments decision to scrap sale the INS Vikrant. When the decision was challenged I thought it will take a longer time in the legal process. This worked out quite fast, scrap it – the high court decided last week.
First, we don’t have money. The cost of the project was 500 crores, 350 crores needed to create a base (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2014-01-24/india/46561332_1_vikrant-aircraft-carrier-pil). But I fail to understand – figures in 100 crores don’t move me – I have never seen that kind of money. Open a newspaper and scam reported is not less than few hundred crores. We as nation, rented one treadmill for approx Rs. 10 lakh and purchased one toilet roll for Rs. 4 thousand in the common wealth games. We are a rich nation that way if I and you are not. I hear how last weeks movie is a fantabulous hit because it collected and crossed 100 crore mark.
In the tits and bits that I picked when the news of ongoing scrap-sale was developing, at one point, the BMC looked interested to allot a budget to the functioning of ship that was challenged by honorable MNS leader Raj Thackeray. It is center’s responsibility he said. If BMC can even think about it for even thinking purpose, the state or the central government must be capable to afford it? Ex-servicemen were talking about collecting funds. There was a thick possibility others would have joined.
Then the lawyers argued it is unsafe and unfit ship not appropriate to train cadets. It has done its time. But that is why we are thinking about it as a museum. People are not talking about using it in a war again. It is a history and preserve it as a history. There is this list of museum ships on wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museum_ships. Some of these ships are older than INS Vikrant. Some of the nations are smaller and small economy than us. I don’t want to go the usual, old, traditional neighbor envy way here but have a look at the list, even Pakistan is having a museum ship. What is so impossible in our nation to maintain with an army of engineers in the country?
INS Vikrant was our only museum ship of the country. It was least advertised by the tourism industry. The state decided it doesn’t have money for its maintenance and within months they arrived at the decision with all legal hurdles crossed to scrap it. Tell me they can build a war memorial or turn another ship in museum in same time they took to decide to scrap it. We know how much slow we can be in deciding to build something that is so urgent public utility service that it was wanted yesterday. In line with that understanding of our work procedures what efforts were taken, what other possibilities were checked to save this only museum ship?
The date to auction the ship is tomorrow, 29th January 2014. I’m not much hopeful at this last hour. Still I wrote and I urge you to sign the petition. I’m not connected to the petition in anyway, have signed few of their petitions before. No harm in trying, and who knows a miracle might happen.