Mumbai: Opposition Shiv Sena and BJP have targeted the Congress-led government in Maharashtra and the Centre for "inability" to maintain the decommissioned aircraft carrier Indian Maritime Ship Vikrant.
"Earlier, what was needed to transform the ship to a maritime museum was just Rs 75 crore. But the state government could not make a provision for the same," Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said.
"If politicians in Maharashtra were to observe a `corruption-free day`, it could lead to savings of Rs 1,000 crore. Many a political bigwig in the state is worth at least Rs 5,000 crore," Uddhav said, in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana.
"Late Balasaheb Thackeray wanted to have Vikrant turned into a maritime museum so that it could inspire youth to serve and protect the country," he said.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya blamed the central government for proceeding with the auction of IMS Vikrant, after the state government expressed its inability to maintain the decommissioned aircraft carrier.
BJP Deputy leader in Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde, will lead a delegation to Defence Minister A K Antony, asking him to halt the auction, he said.
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes had signed an agreement with the then state government about handing over the decommissioned aircraft carrier to the state, he said.
The Defence Ministry was supposed to have allocated Rs 40 crore of the Rs 64 crore needed to repair and refurbish the ship, he said.
However, the Congress-NCP led government, in 2003-04, sought permission to build a helipad, a 7-star hotel and a casino on the ship, he added.
Terming IMS Vikrant as the pride of the nation, Somaiya said, "the Congress-NCP government could indulge in a Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam, but could not find Rs 64 crore to maintain the warship."
IMS Vikrant is set to be re-auctioned by the Defence Ministry after attempts to maintain it as a museum failed.
"It is sad. But yes, we have initiated the process to re-auction it after the Maharashtra government communicated to us that they are not in a position to convert it into a permanent museum," Western Naval Command Chief Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha said.