Union Minister for Earth Sciences, Human Resource Development, Science & Technology and Communications & Information Technology Shri Kapil Sibal laid foundation stone for India’s 3rd Research Base at Antarctica – “Bharati” today at New Delhi. He said, “ The first Indian station in Antarctica, Dakshin Gangotri, established in 1983-84, “Maitri”- the second Indian station on mountainous – ‘Schirmacher Oasis’ in 1988, Research station – Himadri- at Svalbard region of Arctic and now construction of a new research station – Bharati- at Larsemann Hills, east Antarctica is an achievement. This will be completed by 2012.”
Shri Sibal said, “The Bharati will be a unique station with advanced facilities. It will accommodate around 70 people. 35 scientists and 10 logistic people will remain throughout the year. They will experiment on movement of platonic plates, microbes surviving in this atmosphere, magnetic properties, aerosol etc. The station will incur the cost of Rs. 200 crore. The Maitri station will be restructured to present standard and ultra modern facilities, the Minister added.
Polar Research Programme of India includes Polar Regions, Arctic and Antarctica, with their wilderness, mysterious nature and scientific potential have always inspired mankind to launch innumerable expeditions to unravel the secrets hidden under the vast expense of snow and ice.
India entered the Antarctica foray in 1981 with launch of its first scientific expedition to Antarctica. In all thirty expeditions to Antarctica have been launched till date with one special expedition to Weddle Sea, one for exploration for krill resources, four to Southern Ocean ad another four to Arctic.
India’s 3rd Research Base at Antarctica – “Bharati” will undertake multi-disciplinary research and observation studies including biological, geological, physical, chemical, suspended particulates in oceans, aerosols, meteorological sciences. The proposal to establish 3rd Indian station at Antarctica was mooted at the 30th Antarctica Treaty consultative Meeting (ATCM) in May 2007. India hosted this meeting of ATCM for the first time ever since India joined the Antarctic Treaty in 1983 and was granted the consultative status. One of the significant outcomes of 30th ATCM meeting was the ATCM’s acceptance of the Indian proposal for a new Indian Research Base at the Larsemann hills, East Antarctica. This paved the way for India to proceed with the establishment of 3rd station at the Antarctica.
The site survey and shifting of the construction machinery was completed in 2009-10.The first phase of the construction activity is progressing as per schedule. 65% of the task has been completed till date and rest will be completed by the end of the current season.