Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: The Centre is setting up a third research station, Bharathi, on the Antarctica at an estimated cost of Rs.140 crore, and it will become operational in 2011, Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, said on Wednesday.

Mr. Nayak, who visited the Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology of Annamalai University at Parangipettai near here, told presspersons that the first station, Gangotri, was abandoned because of the subsidence of glaciers. The second station, Maitri, was performing well.

Scientists there were conducting research on microbes and bacteria that would help to formulate efficacious drugs. However, because of the inclement weather, they could carry out the research only for four months, from November to February, in a year.

Asked whether the research team would also focus on harnessing other resources on the continent, Mr. Nayak said the 40 countries, who had set up bases on the Antarctica, had reached an understanding that they would not exploit its resources till 2040.

The Antarctica expedition was to trace the connectivity among Australia, Africa and India that got separated from a single continent over a period of time, he said.

Global warming

On global warming, Mr. Nayak said increase in temperature by 0.5 degree Celsius had caused the melting of the Himalayan glaciers in the Baspa basin. Because of this, the runoff in the Baspa was high even during winter.

He said countries around the globe were taking measures to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. But, setting the parameter for the quantum of emission had become contentious.

While the developed countries were insisting that the quantum should be determined by taking the country as a unit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh felt it should be calculated on the basis of per capita emission. He had also given an assurance that India would ensure that per capita emission would not go beyond the global average.

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