Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vikrant Forlorn, But Hope Near

It was pitiful to see the historic INS Vikrant aircraft carrier at the Naval dockyard in Mumbai. The navy looks after her with diligence and affection (and to the extent that it can), but government apathy and a failure to recognize the aircraft carrier's -- formerly HMS Hercules -- historic importance has resulted in the ship standing listlessly inside Tiger Gate, open to visitors only at limited points of time every year. The navy maintains the museum ship from its funds, but this is clearly an unsustainable proposition (and has been for years -- 14 since the ship was decommissioned). Apparently the navy still needs a corpus of funds to generate enough for basic maintenance of the vessel. But I was told there's been movement: two companies have come forward to undertake a Rs 500-crore public-private effort to refurbish the vessel, convert it into a full-fledged museum and monetize the entire undertaking. The company that wins the bid will apparently partner with the Maharashtra Urban Infrastructure Development Company and Municipal Corporation to begin work, already delayed way beyond reason. A mixture of red tape, apathy, security sensitivities, turf battles, egos and skepticism about public interest in the vessel have resulted in the unforgivable delay in keeping Vikrant alive. Let's hope it happens now.

Photos / Shiv Aroor

9 comments :

Aditya said...

I hope this goes through. I've been onboard four times since her conversion to a museum ship and I hope to go there often in the future.

Som said...

Egotist establishments in India should learn from USS Intrepid in NYC .... really a crowd puller !

Anonymous said...

Want to see any positive thing in India

Shubham said...

Hoping it happens soon. Thanks for bringing this issue to fore. As it is the online community is busy with India's planned acquisitions and arguing with the pro & cons of buying this new equipment vs that, however, very little is written is about these veterans of the past and their upkeep. Keep up the good work Shiv, and i sincerely hope that we as a country (apart from those directly involved in Vikrant's upkeep as of now) finally treat Vikrant with the respect it deserves- convert it into a full scale museum so that its heroics of the past are saved for the coming generations..

Anonymous said...

The IAC-I which is presently being manufactured at Cochin will be named as the INS Vikraant Later the IAC-II would also retain the name INS Viraat after the present one is decommissioned. It is Known that Admiral Gorshkov has been rechristened as INS Vikramaditya.

Yatharth Singh said...

This thing standing here in the waters itself might not know how many sentiments, emotions, memories and heroic moments are stuck with it. How many tears were shed on it and how many smiles were spread across the faces during and after the war of 1971.

It is extremely sad to know that still it is being maintained by navy itself from its allotted funds. Pretty disappointing!!!

I know this that the politicians of India have not a pinch of respect for our soldiers and martyrs but they dont even have those memories when they have been young during 1971 and saw the victory of Indian Armed Forces. They dont even give it a thought. Shameless creature.

Anonymous said...

@yatharth singh
india implies good people and bad politician you see...anything good= indian people...anything bad=indian politician

the skepticism about public interest is well founded if one were to observe the interest on I-day and R-day!!!...forget about the various armed forces days!!!

Anonymous said...

Its the first Indian Aircraft carrier. Its place in the nation's history is beyond compare. I have been to the carrier museaum and found it to be a exciting and fun place for enthusiasts. The interior and exterior is astonishingly well maintained. I encourage private sector to invest in this piece of history and establish a maritime museum along with a submarine and warship.

Anonymous said...

it looks better than Gorshakov!!! may be we can recommission it again!!!