A minor electrical fire on the quarterdeck of the INS Vikramaditya broke out last week, and has apparently gutted some electrical wire assemblies, welding equipment and metal panels. The Navy hasn't said anything officially about it, but sources confirm that there was a "fire incident" that has caused some minor damage which is being rectified. The cause of the fire is being investigated. Sources also said that at least one entire wire assembly may need replacement as a simple repair will not be acceptable to the Indian team. As Mail Today's headline yesterday put, this is just another woe to a project that's already woefully adrift. The jury is still out on who will be held accountable for the unforgiveable underestimation of the programme's cost. It's a mystery why there hasn't been any witchhunt so far -- I mean the Gorshkov deal was signed by the NDA!

Anyway, for the record while we're on a Vikramaditya yahtzee, here's what CNS Admiral Sureesh Mehta said when visited the Sevmash yards in March (sic, Sevmash's shoddy grammar, the poor guys!):

"I am satisfied with quality of works and cooperation between my observation group and enterprise. It is good for final result. We work on this project for a long time. We have prepared detailed working sheets where it is calculated how long time and how much money are required for cruiser repair. Unfortunately due to some reasons we could not follow initial terms. Now Sevmash has new Director and he began active measures on updating this question. Today I have seen works on cruiser and I hope that soon we can see cruiser afloat. Now we carry out complex negotiations between our countries regarding financial problem: your delegation works in India, where we shall take decisions which will be realized here. To sign this contract we needed four years and we need time to discuss new conditions. I want to emphasize that relations between India and Russia, between Indian Naval Forces and your enterprise shall be at a higher level. They shall not be based only on economical mutually profitable conditions. We trust that we have strategic cooperation. In due time cruiser became present which made mutual profit. Now we shall do our best to achieve final result."

In November last year, Sevmash director Nikolay Kalistratov met his workers for the first time with the wonderful news that the main problems of the enterprise were financial miscalculations in evaluating repair works on aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and a personnel crisis, where the enterprise is short of main production workers. Feels warm and fuzzy that India's next aircraft carrier is coming from a place in such phenomenal health.

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