Tricolour hoisted at North Pole for first time

April 10th, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) The chests of the 10 Indian Navy men swelled with pride as the tricolour, hoisted at the North Pole for the first time, fluttered in the air with the orange sun on the horizon saluting their feat. “It feels nice to be among the first Indians to stand at the roof of the world (North Pole). The temperature here is minus 35 degree Celsius,” leader of the team Commander Satyabrata Dam told reporters here Thursday via satellite conference from his tent at the North Pole.

Braving inclement weather, which had been its only constant companion since March 26, the team members danced and rejoiced as they reached North Pole Wednesday at 8.16 p.m.

The feat has made Indian Navy the first organisation to reach the pinnacle of the adventure world - the Three Poles (North Pole, South Pole and Mt. Everest).

Three members of the team have also become the first Indians to be to the three poles. One is Cdr Dam and the other two are Petty Officer Medical Assistants Rakesh Kumar and Vikas Kumar.

“All around there is white snow and ice. On our left a British team has erected tents and there is no sign of any other life form,” said Dam, who was accompanied by Lt. Avinash Khajuria and Surgeon Lt. Ajay Sharma in the tent.

The team was flown to Oslo from Delhi March 26 and then to Longyearbyen base camp from where they skied to the North Pole carrying 120 kg of baggage each. They had to face the floating ice and strong winds - but the team is “hale and hearty” after the physically demanding journey.

Elaborating on the difficulties, Dam said: “South Pole was easier to reach as it was a hard landmass. But the North Pole is frozen Arctic Ocean, which is always moving. This made our task difficult as the ice drifted back to the original position and we had to do the journey twice.”

Since the team embarked on the journey it has been a day at the polar ice cap.

“The sun is always there so sometime it gets problematic. The only problem that we have not encountered yet are the polar bears,” the 42-year-old Commander added.

Standing at the North Pole, Dam could also observe the effect of global warming.

“The effect of global warming is evident as the temperature is higher compared to the South Pole,” Dam said.

The team will return home April 24.

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