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Darjeeling girls en route to be part of Everest expedition Team

DARJEELING : For the first time in the history of the Darjeeling hills, 10 girl students selected from more than 100 probables from across the country will be part of an all-girl National Cadet Corps team set to scale Mount Everest next year. The girls are students of various colleges in Darjeeling sub-division and will represent the West Bengal-Sikkim NCC directorate. In all, 40 girl cadets have been selected as probable candidates from across the country. The Darjeeling girls, however, will first have to overcome some of the most gruelling challenges before some or all 10 of them are absorbed into the actual team of 10 climbers who will eventually go on to scale Mount Everest. There is one girl student representing Sikkim as well. The girls are aware of the tough challenge ahead and have started preparing both physically and mentality. “It’s once in a life time opportunity. I never thought such a thing would happen to me, but now that it is for real, I am confident of making it to the actual team that will climb Everest,” said Srijana Rai (20), an honours student of Ghoom-Jorebungalow Degree College. 

Meanwhile, for Lhakpa Doma Sherpa (19), who is also from the same college, it is all about stamina and mental strength. “The nervousness is there. But I am preparing mentally to meet the challenges ahead. I make sure to get up early for jogging and exercises as doing so will help me gain stamina and strength,” said the first year student. The 40 probables have already done a one-month basic course at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling and on-field training in the Lachen Glaciers in west Sikkim. Further, they will be required to scale two peaks before the final 10 are selected. “The girls will first scale the 6,001m Deo-Tibba peak in Himachal Pradesh following which the last 20 will be chosen. The shortlisted candidates will then climb the 7,075m Satopanth peak in Uttarakhand. 

The final 10 will then be selected for the Everest attempt,” said Lt-Col Paramjit Singh, the training officer of the Darjeeling-Sikkim NCC Group. Talking about the all-girl team to Everest, Singh said the aim was to increase the number of girl cadets in the NCC as they make up just 26 per cent of the 13 lakh cadets in total. “We have 17 directorates across the country. The objective of the all-girl expedition is to promote and increase the number of girl cadets in the NCC. Besides, our goal is in sync with the prime minister’s pledge to bolster the girl child to excel in life,” the training officer said. The NCC’s initiative comes on the back of a successful boy’s expedition to Everest in May 2013. The team had comprised eight NCC cadets including one cadet from Darjeeling and they scaled the world’s highest peak successfully. 


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