BJP, RPI collect funds to save INS Vikrant
A week after the central government decided to auction the decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, two major political parties launched a symbolic fund collection drive yesterday to save the erstwhile heroine of the high seas
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Republican Party of India (RPI) also demonstrated in south Mumbai and sought contributions from the public, including commuters, office-goers and cabbies, for the ship now known as Indian Museum Ship (IMS) Vikrant. “We demand the Maharashtra government should save the ship. But Chief Minister Chavan says the government has no resources. We are ready to raise the funds by appealing to the public,” senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who led the drive, said.
BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale has shot off a note to Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte demanding the civic body make additional budgetary provisions for the maintenance of INS Vikrant. Shewale said the BMC had already made a provision of Rs 25 crore during the past four years, but the amount could not be handed over as the necessary paperwork was not done, and lapsed.
He urged Kunte to include the lapsed amount as well as make additional provision in next year’s civic budget to take care of the ship’s maintenance and prevent it from being sent to the scrapyard. Somaiya said the money collected from the general public would be handed over to Governor K Sankaranarayanan for saving and maintaining INS Vikrant, which played a stellar role in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.