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Saranda tribals aim for the Everest

india Updated: Jun 04, 2014 22:40 IST
Manoj Choudhary
Manoj Choudhary
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Their lives revolve around the forests of West Singhbhum. Living under the shadow of Maoists on the Jharkhand-Odisha border and fighting a life of poverty, a trip to Mouth Everest would be farthest from their mind.



But for these 50 young tribal men from some of the remote villages in Saranda, an expedition to the world's highest peak is now a reality, thanks to the efforts of Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS).



India's first woman to successfully scale Mount Everest, Bachendri Pal, would be guiding them on their arduous trek.



Aware that these young men, all in the age-group of 20 to 25 years, have never been out of their region, TSRDS has organised a training camp in Uttarkashi, under the supervision of experienced mountaineers, before they tackle Mount Everest. It would also help them acclimatise to the harsh conditions they would encounter on their journey.



The tribals, scheduled to leave Noamundi on Thursday on their expedition, were naturally excited.



"It will be the first time that we will see snowfall and experience a different kind of weather. It will be a learning experience for us. Our journey is going to be like a dream," Budhram Champai, a tribal from Kumirta and one of the expedition members, said.



Besides Kumirta, young men from Siajora, Barajamda, Padapahar, Maudi, Sarbil, Banaikela, Kumerta, Bederkai, Katikora, Kotgar, Rengarbera, Bahada, Doodhbela, Kuchibera, Kadajamda and other adjacent villages on the Jharkhand-Odisha border have been selected for the expedition.



Most of them have never crossed the border of Saranda and it would be their first train journey as well.



They are either Class X or Class XII pass outs and most of them are employed. Their parents work in farms in the forests and have a meagre income.



"We earn a little bit of money by selling forest produce in the local market of West Singhbhum. The youths from Saranda's villages don't have proper jobs and had never dreamt of scaling Mount Everest," Sonaram Laguri, another team member, said.



Besides organising the expedition, TSRDS is also financing the trip while experienced mountaineers from the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) would be guiding the tribal youths.



The expedition would challenge their physical and mental strength and would provide them a unique experience.