Significance of post office with Indian address in Antarctica

The Antarctica has 2 research stations - Maitri and Bharati - both are a part of the Goa postal division and their location being 3,000 km apart.
Last Updated : 07 April 2024, 07:54 IST
Last Updated : 07 April 2024, 07:54 IST

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India's first post office in Antarctica was set up in 1984 at the Dakshin Gangotri, which was the country's first scientific base there, according to a report by Indian Express.

Around 10,000 letters and mails had been posted and cancelled at the icy continent's post office.

In 1988-89, the Dakshin Gangotri was decommissioned as it was submerged in the continent's ice and in January 26 1990, a new post office branch was built at the continent's India Maitri Research Station, according to the publication.

For over 35 years since then, placed in blank envelopes, letters and postcards were sent to the Maitri station's post office for cancellation.

According to the publication, now, almost 40 years later, the letters which are to be sent to Antarctica, will now be having a new Pin Code - MH-1718.

As a second branch of the post office has been set up at the Bharati Research Station in the continent, following the criterion, the new Pin Code is currently "experimental", reported the publication.

The continent has 2 research stations - Maitri and Bharati - both being part of the Goa postal division and their location being 3,000 km apart.

According to IE, an official from the Department of Posts said, "In practice, the letters meant for the post office in Antarctica are sent to the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), in Goa. At the research base, the letters are ‘cancelled’, brought back, and returned via post."

A former scientist at the NCPOR M Sudhakar, told the publication as to why the post office stationed at the continent was significant.

"Antarctica is governed by the Atlantic Treaty, which puts aside territorial claims by any country, and prohibits military activity or nuclear testing and underlines that the continent can only be used for scientific exploration."

Sudhakar said that ideally an Indian post office can be setup only on an Indian land. He asserted that the continent serves a strategic purpose related to the existence and occupancy which provides with a distinctive chance to have an Indian post office on a foreign land.

According to Indian Express, K K Sharma, the Chief Postmaster General of Maharashtra urged the scientists in Antarctica to continue posting letters to their families, friends and acquaintances.

Sharma said that though the technology in today's world has taken over almost everything, but nothing is comparable to the art of writing handwritten letters.

He said that the handwritten letters in their physical form stay with the person for years whereas the electronic letter formats get deleted or erased easily. He also mentioned that handwritten letters bring back memories when a person looks at them even after years, making them reminiscent.

According to the publication, the Director of Postal Services in Goa region R P Patil, said that people who collect postage stamps, find it a rare to get a collection from a post office which is in a remote location.

According to Indian Express, the Director of the NCPOR in Goa Dr Thamban Meloth, said that it is an experience worth for someone getting a postal stamp who is going to Antartica.

Published 07 April 2024, 07:54 IST

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