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Centre likely to consider converting INS Vikrant into museum

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Decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. Photo: Wikipedia

MUMBAI (PTI): The Union Tourism Ministry has been asked to examine the feasibility of converting former Indian Navy warship INS Vikrant into a maritime museum.

According to a letter by Defence Secretary R K Mathur to Mumbai North East MP Kirit Somaiya, which was released to reporters here on Friday, the Joint secretary to the Prime Minister in his June 18 letter requested the Union Ministry of Tourism to examine the feasibility of converting the ship into a museum, subject to Supreme Court judgement.

It also asked to take into account the structural and safety aspects, besides initial investment as well as recurring cost of rehabilitating the ship.

This was disclosed to Mumbai North East MP Kirit Somaiya by the Defence Secretary, since the Mumbai MP had written to the Centre to save INS Vikrant from being sent to the scrapyard.

The letter said that the issue was also taken up by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) based on a letter from Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, after which a detailed brief on the case was sent to the PMO.

The development comes after Supreme Court granted a status quo on INS Vikrant last month.

The Bombay High Court had given the go-ahead for it to be auctioned in January, after it rejected a public interest litigation to save the ship and convert it into a maritime museum.

In March, the Indian Navy had sold it to the highest bidder, a Mumbai-based ship breaking company called IB Commercial, for Rs 63 crore, way over its reserve bid price of Rs 3 crore.

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