The mountain man: Meet Chhape Ram Negi who rescues people in valley of death
Negi has rescued many individuals in Parvati valley besides recovering as many as 50 bodies of the missing trekkers and others in the areaindia Updated: Apr 26, 2018 18:29 IST
Whenever there is a missing complaint of any trekker in Kullu’s Parvati valley, also known as the valley of death, district administration makes the first call to a 48-year-old mountain rescuer Chhape Ram Negi.
Negi has rescued many individuals in Parvati valley besides recovering as many as 50 bodies of the missing trekkers and others in the area.
“I don’t remember the exact number but many operations have been successful,” said Negi, who started working as a tourist guide when he was in Class-8.
“Due to my family’s poor financial condition, I could not complete Class-10. I opted for this because I know the valley since childhood,” he said.
Negi was instrumental in tracing out bodies of two Delhi trekkers who were on separate treks in Kullu district’s Parvati Valley.
“Both of these cases were unique from previous ones. In Aman Awasthi and Akhil Chadda’s cases, trails were left by the trekkers. Akhil had left his walking stick, water bottle and shoes while Awasthi, an IT engineer from Gurugram, had left his shoes, shirt, pants, bag and watch. In both cases, we followed the trails. These trekkers had not followed the traditional treks,” he said.
Aman Awasthi had gone missing on March 7 and his body was recovered by Negi on April 20. Akhil Chadda had gone missing on April 12 and his body was recorded on April 17 by a joint team of Negi and the police.
Negi, who hails from Shivpuri Chowki village of Kullu district’s Parvati valley, is always ready with all equipment to lead the team of five rescuers including his 34-year-old brother Shera Negi.
“I even get calls from embassies enquiring about the missing tourists in the valley,” he said, adding, “I do not ask them for money but only charge for logistics like vehicle and other things if required.”
Sometimes families of those missing pay as per their capacity, he said.
Completely a family man
Father of a 9-year-old girl, Negi said, “People call me a mountain man, toughest man, but I am a father of little girl and completely a family man. I love to do this work because I know someone’s family member has gone missing.”
On being asked, if the risk factor involved in the rescue operations scares him, he said, “Earlier, before leaving for any operation, I used to get little anxious but now I leave it to God.”
Whenever administration or any other agency calls Negi for the search or rescue operation, he alerts his team and start the mission. “We do it in a professional way as we have all the equipments. We comb the valley in a planned manner as each member of our team is a trained rescuer,” he added.
Trekkers ignore advisories
“People from India as well as foreign countries visit Kullu but do not have any idea about risks of trekking. They also ignore the advisories issued by the administration,” he said.
Terming every assignment as God’s wish, Negi said he took all these challenges as opportunities to serve the humanity.
“There have been instances when we succeeded to rescue tourists and sometimes we come out of the valley carrying the body.”
Local administration also hails efforts of Negi. “He is the man who knows this area very well, since his childhood,” said Kullu SP Shalini Agnihotri, adding, “He is a great help to us as he has saved many lives besides recovering the bodies of missing tourists in the valley.”
Parvati valley starts from the confluence of the Parvati river with the Beas, there are many tourist destinations in the valley including Kasol, Manikaran, Malana, Tosh, which have unidentified treks.
First Published: Apr 26, 2018 17:09 IST