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India Post opens third post office in Antarctica

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MUMBAI: In a symbolic yet landmark effort,

India Post

opened its third

post office

in the icy continent of

Antarctica

near the South Pole Monday. India runs research missions in the icy, uninhabited terrain where a floating number of 50-100

scientists

work during various months.
The new post office was inaugurated at

Bharati Station

, Antarctica, through web link by K K Sharma, chief postmaster general, Maharashtra Circle.

Sharma said, “The department had earlier installed a post office at Dakshin Gangotri Station in 1984 and another at Maitri Station in 1990. This is the third post office to be established in Antarctica.”
April 5 was chosen because it marked the 24th Foundation Day of National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa. Shailendra Saini, group director (Antarctic Operations), said, “This is a symbolic yet milestone effort. Our scientists do have access to modern means of communication including WhatsApp, albeit at slow speeds, so they do keep in contact with their families. But the souvenir value of receiving a letter stamped ‘Antarctica’ — in an era when people have stopped writing letters altogether — holds great importance. We will collect the letters once a year and despatch them to our headquarters in Goa from where they will be mailed to the scientists’ families.”
A postcard on Bharati Station was released on the occasion. Apart from senior postal department officials, a number of scientists working in Antarctica and Goa attended the event by virtual presence including Thaman Meloth, director, NCPOR, and the team leaders of Maitri and Bharati Stations.

K K Sharma said the new venture “underscores the commitment of the postal fraternity to serve even the most remote corners of the globe”. He commended the efforts of all the people involved in making this virtual launch possible and expressed confidence in the postmaster stationed at the Bharati Branch Post Office to facilitate meaningful connections through the exchange of letters with loved ones.

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