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From Daijiworld's special correspondent in Goa

Panaji, Apr 7: Back from icy Antarctic continent, an Indian scientist has said that the ozone depletion on this continent is coming back to normal.

"There is no hole left in the Ozone layer. The situation which was alarming a few years back is now normal," Dr Ajai Dhar, scientist, who headed 26th Indian Antarctic expedition, told reporters here.

The ozone layer depletion on the icy antarctic continent had created concern raising eyebrows about the global warming. The fears were raised that ice on Antarctic continent would melt, further raising the sea levels.

"Some interesting facts were revealed during the ozone layer study. There was a little depletion a few years back but now the hole has patched up," Dhar said. The scientist said that it takes time for ozone layer to come back to normal and it is happening.

The Indian mission guided by ministry of earth sciences which left for the icy continent in two different groups came back on Friday morning. During its 26-year-long study of this icy continent, India has established two stations -- Dakshin Gangotri and Maitri while the process is on for setting up of a third station at Larsemann Hill.

"It is likely that the third station would be named Bharati. But a final decision is yet to be taken," the scientist said.

Larsemann Hill area already has Australian research station Davis, Chinese station Zhong Shan and Russian station Progress II. "We will start constructing the new station once we get the nod from the consultative committee on antarctica treaty," Rasik Ravindra, director, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, stated.

The committee is meeting in New Delhi on April 30 which will discuss the comphrehensive environment evaluation report prepared by the Indian mission.

India's Antarctic research, which began in 1981, feels that every passing year they have been adding to their knowledge about this southernmost tip of earth. "This time around we have collected two ice cores from the ice shelf region north of the Schirmacher oasis. The first ice core recovered was 75 metres in length and other one from nearly location which is 60 metres long,"


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