Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale today wrote to municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte, requesting him for additional provision of funds in next year's civic budget to maintain decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
The development comes after the Maharashtra government expressed its inability to maintain the Indian Navy's first aircraft carrier commissioned in 1961, which the defence ministry is in the process of auctioning. The INS Vikrant, which played a significant role in Pakistan's defeat in the 1971 war with India, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, was decommissioned in January 1997.
"Since the last four years the BMC had been making a provision of Rs 25 crore in its annual budget to set up a museum on INS Vikrant. Rs 100 crore has been sanctioned since then. However, since the amount was not handed over to the Navy on time, it lapsed. If the money would have been handed over to the Navy on time, the auctioning of INS Vikrant would not have taken place," a press statement quoted Shewale as saying.
It would be appropriate for the BMC to take an initiative to maintain INS Vikrant, he said. Hence, the BMC should hold talks with the Navy and the Maharashtra government by taking into account sentiments of the people, he said. "By including the lapsed amount, the BMC should make additional provision in its next year's annual budget to maintain INS Vikrant," Shewale has written to Kunte.