Govt to provide scholarships to more mountaineering aspirants
Kolkata: In a bid to encourage more youths to take interest in mountaineering and adventure sports, the Mamata Banerjee government has decided to provide scholarships to more number of candidates for training in the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) from 2018 onwards.
This comes at the time when 20 mountaineers from Bengal have managed to reach the summit of Mount Everest, after the change of guard in the state. The number was only two during the 34 year long regime of the erstwhile Left Front government.
Moreover, the state Youth Services and Sports department has also increased the financial assistance for expedition of mountains of more than 8,000 metre height from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh.
From 2018 onward, 150 candidates will be selected trough trials, who will be getting complete scholarship from the state government to undergo basic and advanced training on mountaineering in HMI.
When Mamata Banerjee came to power in 2011, scholarship was given only to 70 to 80 enthusiasts. Besides taking necessary steps to encourage more youths to take interest in mountaineering and adventure sports, the state government has also taken initiative to provide scholarships to more of them.
In the past six and a half years, more number of candidates, aged between 18 to 35 years, have started pouring in at the camps for trial, to get selected for the training on mountaineering.
"With the increase in the number of applicants, decision has been taken to provide scholarship to 150 candidates to undergo the training," said Ujjal Roy, a member of the West Bengal Mountaineering and Adventure Sports Foundation (WBMASF), under the state Youth Services and Sports department.
Earlier, the cost of providing training to each candidate was around Rs 7,500. Now it has gone up to Rs 10,000 and the state government is providing the same for each of the 150 mountaineering enthusiasts.
The trial camps are mainly held at Durgapur, Siliguri and Kolkata.
Last year, more than 500 aspirants had turned out for the trials and in the coming year, it is expected to go up. The process of selection for the candidates to get scholarship will start in November.
The candidates, both men and women, need to pass a set of tests to get selected for the scholarship, to undergo the basic and advanced training at HMI.
The selected youths are sent for training in batches and it continues round-the-year. In each batch, 15 selected candidates undergo the training.
At the same time, the Eastern Zonal Sport Climbing competition has also been organised by the state government, which will be held from March 20 to 23 and there will be participants from Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and all the North-Eastern states.