India’s 1st Aircraft Carrier Slips into History

  • Work has begun on scrapping the country's first aircraft carrier- Vikrant.
  • Built for the British Royal Navy as HMS Hercules in 1943, it was acquired by India in 1957
  • Vikrant saw action during the India-Pakistan war in 1971, playing a key role.
  • When the electric saws were pressed upon the ship, it essentially put an end to a movement by activists to save her.
  • Vikrant was auctioned to a ship-breaker for Rs 63.2 crore this year.
  • Mumbai's IB Commercials Pvt Ltd won the bid on January 29 and bought the vessel on April 9.
  • Since then, the company faced hurdles as a PIL filed in the Bombay high court towards the end of 2013 proceeded to the Supreme Court.
  • Abdul Karim Jaka, the owner of IB Commercials said: I was ready to accede to the activists' demand for converting the vessel into a museum,but my request to get my money back, the money that I had pumped in to buy the ship, was not granted. I had taken loans on high interest.
  • He also added:I had been meeting the activists even before the PIL was filed. I met them even after the PIL was dismissed on August 14. I met Admiral (retd) I C Rao and Aam Aadmi Party's Meera Sanyal, but nothing concrete happened.
  • The navy handed over the vessel to us in October. On November 12, we got the go ahead from the Supreme Court to start cutting the steel.“
  • Jaka's son Zuber said:At 2pm on Tuesday, approximately 200 workers at our yard embarked upon the work to cut out 15,700 tons of steel from the vessel.
  • Save Vikrant Committee chief Kiran Paigankar, who had filed the PIL to save the ship, termed it “a sad day in the country's glorious maritime history“.
  • He said it was unfortunate that the process to expedite the end of Vikrant was initiated by the Indian Navy which once considered the vessel its `pride'.
  • Paigankar said:An important chapter of Indian history revolving around Vikrant has finally ended.Despite all our efforts, we could not prevent her from breaking up.