The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered status quo on the dismantling of decommissioned aircraft carrier “Viraat”, but a Gujarat-based ship-breaker who has purchased it said it is now too late for any restoration effort.
Over 40 per cent of the dismantling work has been completed so far, said Mukesh Patel, Chairman of Shree Ram Group, that bought the ship at an auction in July last year for ₹ 38.54 crore.
The firm began the dismantling at its ship-breaking yard at Alang in December 2020 and now it is impossible to reassemble the parts that have been cut, he said.
“Over 40 per cent of dismantling work is complete. We have already pulled the ship towards the shore and also dismantled some portions of the hull, making it impossible for the ship to remain afloat now,” said Mr Patel, after learning about the SC order from the media.
“I have not received any notice yet from the court. But it is already too late for the ship to be used for any other purpose. Our legal team would submit a reply if a notice is served to us,” he said.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered status quo on the dismantling of ”Viraat” which was in service with the Indian Navy for nearly three decades.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde issued notice to the Centre and others seeking response on a plea filed by a firm which seeks preservation of the ship as a museum.
The centaur-class aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, was in service with the Indian Navy for 29 years before being decommissioned in March 2017.
The Centre had in July 2019 informed Parliament that the decision to scrap Viraat was taken after due consultation with the Indian Navy.