New Maitri II station to go into operation in 2029 | Polarjournal
The Indian Maitri Station was built in 1989 in East Antarctica and is getting on in years. The new Maitri II station is scheduled to go into operation in the immediate vicinity in 2029. (Photo: Prof. SP Chavan)

India has decided to build a new research station in Antarctica to replace the “very old” predecessor station Maitri. Kiren Rijiju, Minister of Earth Sciences, has announced the government’s intention to establish a new research station in East Antarctica. The station is to be located in the immediate vicinity of the existing Indian research base Maitri.

A group of Indian polar researchers has now succeeded in finding an ideal location for the construction of the future Indian research station Maitri-II in the Antarctic.

Thamban Meloth, Director of the National Center for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) gave the Indian media an insight into the key factors that were considered for the smooth operation of the new station. These factors include the availability of water, crew transportation and waste disposal. The expected schedule for completion is set for January 2029.

Dr. Thamban Meloth, Director of the National Center for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) since 2022, is already looking forward to putting the new Maitri station into operation. (Photo: NCPOR)

While experts from the Survey of India are currently conducting a topographical survey of the site, Meloth mentioned that high-resolution maps will soon be released that will provide valuable insights into the new site. He reiterated that Maitri-II will comply with all environmental regulations in the region and will be a state-of-the-art facility.

The decision to build a new station is due to the outdated infrastructure of the Maitri base. The main objective is to improve the quality of Indian scientific research in Antarctica while adhering to strict environmental protocols for the region.

Dakshin Gangotri Station. Indian polar research has a long tradition. India has been present in Antarctica with its first station since 1983. Dakshin Gangotri was abandoned in 1988-1989 after the station sank into the ice. It was succeeded by the Maitri Station, which was set up in a more temperate climate zone at a distance of 90 km and went into operation in 1990. Dakshin Gangotri was finally decommissioned on February 25, 1990 and subsequently converted into a supply base. (Photo: NCPOR)

The Indian Antarctic Program, overseen by the National Centre for Polar and Oceanic Research under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, has been actively contributing to Antarctic research since its inception in 1981. India’s commitment to scientific exploration in the region gained international recognition with the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. This commitment led to the establishment of research bases, including Dakshin Gangotri in 1983 and Maitri in 1989. The most recent addition to India’s presence in Antarctica is the Bharati base, which was commissioned in 2012 and was built from 134 shipping containers.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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