Clean Ganga Expedition Next Adventure for Team Bachendri

New Delhi
Clean Ganga Expedition Next Adventure for Team Bachendri
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

India's first woman to climb Mt Everest who has just wrapped up an all women desert safari, is gearing up for her next big mission, cleaning up the Ganga.

"We did an expedition 'Great Rafting Voyage' on the Ganga in 1994 which covered the river from Haridwar to Kolkata in 39 days. This time we want to concentrate on cleaning the river," says Pal.

Pal was here to celebrate success of her recent endeavour a 2,300-km-long 'Great Desert Safari'. The 60-year-old heads the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) in Jamshedpur and is president of the Women Adventure Network of India (WANI).

An all-girls team for the 'Clean Ganga' adventure is expected to be finalised soon and Pal says members would be required to be swimmers and possess basic rafting skills and experience.

The iconic mountaineer says the cleaning team would have an on the ground support team too.

"There will be a support team to help us, as when we clean the river we would need people to dispose of the dirt. We intend to involve the government as well as the authorities to help us.

"The course of the adventure has not been decided as yet. But, you can expect this adventure to kickstart this September," she says.

Pal returned on March 22 from a desert safari where she led a 27-member team comprising 14 women selected by TSAF and 13 from the Border Security Force. The mission aimed to spread awareness on the girl child and the importance of empowering them to forge ahead in life.

"It's a momentous occasion for us to have completed the 2300 km of the Great Indian Desert Safari on camel and vehicles. The journey through the tough terrains has provided numerous opportunities to come triumphant in extreme difficult situations," says Pal.

The safari traversed the country's desert regions stretching over three states namely Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab covering the international borders from Bhuj to Wagah Border.

Interacting with soldiers on the borders says Pal was one of the journey's highlights.

"We salute our brave soldiers guarding our borders. The hardships which they have to go through brings tears to my eyes," says Pal.

Pal and her team embarked on their journey on February 25 on the occasion of BSF's golden jubilee celebration talking to villagers and soldiers, organizing cultural programs for them and motivating women to come out of age old traditions.

"We used to talk to more or less 1000 people per day. It was touching to see so many women, girls and children to come and visit us and take inspiration from us. We urged them to remove their 'Ghunghat' and talk to us, which they did after much persuasion," says Pal.

Previously, in the year 2007, the mountaineer had embarked on a similar journey with BSF but with much smaller team. The Everester called it an "ice-breaker" event.

Pal and her close-friend and adventure partner Premlata Agarwal, the oldest Indian woman to have scaled the Mount Everest, recalled stories of their recent adventure.

"We re-visited the village of Roopnagar this time. I was touched to see that they had kept my photograph from my last visit," says Pal and went on to describe how the villagers allowed their womenfolk to sit on chairs.

"We hope we have made a difference by setting an example in front of these villagers on women empowerment. We also urge the government to re-view facilities provided to our soldiers at the borders. It is our duty to boost the morale of our soldiers," says Pal.

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