India’s scientific mission in Antarctica gets Rs 1051 crore ‘gift’



By NewsGram Staff Writer

To strengthen India’s research base in Antarctica, the government today authorised the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa to acquire a Polar Research Vehicle (PRV) at the cost of Rs 1051 crore.

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had approved acquisition of the Polar Research Vessel (PRV) in October last year at an estimated expenditure of over Rs. 1051 crore,” Minister of State for Earth Sciences YS Chowdary said.

He said the vessel is expected to contribute to India’s scientific expeditions and to sustain research at two Indian bases in Antarctica (Maitri and Bharti) and also dovetail research initiatives in the Southern Ocean domain in the proximal regions of the Antarctic continent.

“Taking into consideration the growing need of the scientific community to initiate studies in the frontier realms of ocean sciences, and the uncertainty in the charter-hire of polar vessels and the ever-escalating chartering costs it was decided to explore the feasibility of constructing and commissioning a polar research vessel which can cater to both the scientific and logistics aspects of the polar and Southern Ocean programmes,” the minister said, and added, that the PRV will give an expansion to our scientific activities into the Arctic and Southern Ocean.

“It could also widen the thrust on Arctic research disciplines, undertaken through Indian Station Himadri, in addition to providing a suitable research platform for other ocean research programmes,” Chowdary said.

Ever since the first Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica began way back in 1981, India has been managing the transportation of the expedition personnel and cargo to and back from Antarctica through chartered vessels.