Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant has been sold for mere Rs 60 Crore via an online auction to an Alang ship-breaker. The decommissioned aircraft carrier played an crucial role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
The carrier was sold via an online auction to a ship-breaker following the dismissal a PIL (Public-Interest Litigation) filed by Kiran Paigankar (founder of the “Save Vikrant Committee”) by the Bombay High Court. The Court dismissed the PIL stating that the carrier’s tatterdemalion condition did not justify her conservation, also the requisite funds or government support are also not available.
Timeline: INS Vikrant
Under United Kingdom:
- Named: “HMS Hercules”; Builder: Vickers-Armstrong/Harland and Wolff; Never commissioned
- 1943: Laid down on November 12, 1943
- 1945: Launched on September 22, 1945
- 1957: Sold to India
- 1961: Commissioned on March 4, 1961
- 1971: Played a crucial role in imposing the naval encirclement on East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.
- 1997: Decommissioned on January 31,1997
- Preserved as a museum ship in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai. But there was a lack of funding for its proper preservation. INS Vikrant was the only World War II-era British-built aircraft carrier to be preserved as a museum.
- 2010: Maharashtra government had conveyed its unfitness to maintain Vikrant
- 2012: Museum was closed after Vikrant was viewed as unsafe.
- 2013: On December 3, 2013, the Indian government adjudicated to auction the ship, due to its upkeep difficulties.