Kapil Sibbal to visit Anarctica

| 20 January 2005 23:05 IST

Antartica continent will have unusual visitor in the first week of February, this year.

Union minister of state for science and technology Kapil Sibbal will travel all the way to this icy continent to ``boost the morale of scientists working there

Mr Sibbal was down in Goa to inaugurate Ice core Laboratory block set up by national centre for antartic and ocean research, Goa (NCAOR) at Vasco, Goa.

``By going to Antartica we are making the statement that we mean
business,' stated Mr Sibbal briefing presspersons. Mr Sibbal will be
the second minister to visit the continent. First one was a British
minister to visited there six months back.

Mr Sibbal plans to visit the continent between February 1 to February
5. He will travel to Cape Town (South Africa) by aeroplane and will
take special charter flight to Antartica.

The NCAOR is in a process to start another station on Antartica. This will be the third station. First one was dakshin gangotri which functioned between 1983 to 1989 and was later scrapped. Maitri, the station which functions currently, was established in 1989.

``We are in the process of finalising the site for third station. The site is proposed at 600 kms away from maitri station. After finalising the site, the station costing Rs 15 crore would be built up in 2 years,' stated Harsh Gupta, secretary, department of ocean development.

Speaking about his purpose to visit the station, Mr Sibbal said``I
want to understand problems of people working there. And what more we should do for them.'

The ice core laboratory which was inaugurated today is considered to
be first of its kind in South Asia. The ice cores transported from Antartica are stored here. This laboratory has sophisticated facilities for the scientific archival, processing and analysis of the ice cores.

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