HC to take call on preserving Vikrant

HC to take call on preserving Vikrant

The Bombay High Court on Thursday agreed to hear a public interest case on granting antiquity status to what was once India’s most powerful warship, the aircraft carrier Indian Museum Ship (IMS) Vikrant.

The PIL moved by the convenor of the 'Save Vikrant Movement' Kiran Paingankar, will be heard on Saturday where the court is expected to deliberate the definition of 'antiquity' under the Antiquity and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

After Maharashtra government refused money to convert it into a full-fledged museum, naval authorities decided last month to put the 'Queen of Indian Seas' up for auction.

The disposal bid of IMS Vikrant on “as is where is basis” opened on a state-run website on December 18. Bidders were asked to deposit Rs 3.10 crore as earnest money before participating in the e-auction.

An overwhelming response from across the country has made the Navy extend the bidding till January 29. The Navy has tacitly admitted that it would like to preserve the war relic.

The PIL, which was filed earlier this month, came up for hearing on Thursday. The Navy, the state’s Urban Development Department and Department of Tourism and Culture are named respondents. 

Talking to Deccan Herald Paigankar said: “Our key contention is that the ship can easily classify as 'antinquity'... After all she is already 70 years old and she can be then converted into a national museum for educational and defence training purposes.”

Paigankar added that the tourism department could benefit and the state government could provide funds under the Antiquity Act.

The 1943-British-built Royal Navy ship Hermes was inducted into the Indian Navy as INS Vikrant and was in service for 36 years till her decommissioning in 1997.

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