DELHI: As it entered its last day in service on Monday after three decades of sailing, oldest aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy INS Viraat ‘s fate remains unclear as to whether it will be converted into a luxury hotel or will it head to the scrapyard to be broken up.
The Defence Ministry is yet to take a decision on a proposal from the Government of Andhra Pradesh to convert it into an entertainment hub in Visakhapatnam through a joint venture with the Government of India reports The Hindu.
The Navy is keen on an early decision to avoid INS Viraat meeting the same fate as its predecessor Vikrant, which eventually went to the scrapyard.
Responding to a call from the Defence Ministry last year to all coastal States to put forward proposals on INS Viraat, A.P. has proposed to convert it into an offshore luxury hotel and build a Marina along with an entertainment zone around it.
The proposal was communicated to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar by A.P. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
In a follow-up to this, Naidu, in February-end, wrote to Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma for an “in-principle” approval to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to execute the project.
Naidu has stated that his government intends to take forward the legacy of INS Viraat by making it a world class project on the lines of other global projects like USS Alabama, USS Constellation, and HMS Belfast.
“In view of above, your intervention is requested in giving an in-principle approval for setting up an SPV with a 50:50 sharing between the Government of India and the Government of Andhra Pradesh so as to take forward the prestigious and unique project at Visakhapatnam, which is fast becoming a prominent destination for foreign tourists,” Naidu requested the Union Ministers in the letters dated February 27.