The state Youth Affairs Department is planning to organise a ‘Mountaineers’ Meet’ to discuss the pros and cons of mountaineering and adventure sports in Bengal, after releasing the year-long calendar containing details on training programmes and expeditions.
A plan has also been mooted to encourage more school and college-goers to take part in adventure sports.
More than 500 participants are expected to be present at the meet in Salt Lake. The participants will include well-known mountaineers who regularly take up expeditions, members from mountaineering clubs from across the state, former mountaineers, school and college-goers.
It is learnt that eminent climbers and people with experience in the field of adventure sports from other parts of the country would also be present at the meet, where the novice will get an opportunity to listen and learn from the professionals.
The meet will last for at least two days. The Youth Affairs department is yet to finalise the date, but it is likely to take place at the end of December or the first week of January 2017. The meet is expected to be a thorough learning experience for budding mountaineers.
It may be mentioned that the state government had taken many steps to promote mountaineering and adventure sports in the state, as it helps in building ‘sportsmanship and a sense of fellow feeling’ among students and the youth. The move resulted in an increase in the number of youth taking part in different expeditions and adventure sports in the state.
The Youth Affairs department will provide financial assistance of Rs 25,000 to mountaineering clubs, if they successfully impart training for adventure sports to at least 20 boys and girls between November and February.
The adventure sports include altitude trekking, river crossing and rafting, mountaineering, rock-climbing jungle safari and hang-gliding. The training takes place mainly in Joychandi, Mathaguru and Gajaguru areas in Purulia and Susunia hills in Bankura.
According to a senior member of the West Bengal Mountaineering and Adventure Sports Foundation (WBMASF), under the state Youth Affairs department, both former and current climbers will put forward their suggestions for betterment of adventure sports in Bengal and will also throw light on some existing problems. The state government would take necessary measures following the suggestions.
The release of the year-long schedule of expeditions and training programmes will be another highlight at the Salt Lake meet. It will contain detailed schedule of programmes and events organised for school and college-goers; dates suitable for expedition to different peaks including Mount Everest and coastal trekking; and state and national level competitions for the year 2017.
This is the first time that an initiative to prepare a year-long calendar for mountaineering and adventure sports have been taken up. It will be given to all clubs and mountaineering enthusiasts in the state.
“It will be of immense help as they will not have to worry about missing out on any programme organised by the department for betterment of adventure sports,” said the WBMASF member.
The Radhanath Sikdar Tenzing Norgay Award to a mountaineer – for those who successfully climb Mount Everest – and Chhanda Gayen Award will be given to an outstanding woman climber on November 23 at Moulali Yuba Kendra. The state government had the introduced Radhanath Sikdar Tenzing Norgay Award in 2013 to motivate young mountaineers.