NEW DELHI, March 20 (Manipur Information Centre) : The President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee today flagged off the first North East Expedition to Mt. Everest by handing over ice-axe baton with flag to the leader of the Expedition Team, Dr. Leishangthem Surjit Singh at a solemn function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said, “This expedition is important not only because it seeks to scale Mt. Everest , the highest in the world, but because it symbolises mankind’s indomitable sprit to fight against all odds”. He expressed his hope that Mrs Anshu Jamsenpa, the first lady from Arunachal Pradesh who scaled Mount Everest twice, was a member of the expedition team would create a history of the Mount Everest expedition. He also expressed his proud moment that Mr. N. Chingkheinganba, a 16 year old boy who on completion of the expedition would be the youngest to scale the Mt. Everest
This North East Expedition to Mt. Everest is organized by the Planning department, Government of Manipur through the Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association. It is sponsored by the North Eastern Council, Shillong.
D.S. Poonia, the Chief Secretary of Manipur and the Chef de mission made a brief introduction of the first North Eastern India Mount Everest Expedition on the occasion. He said that the main objective of the North East Mount Everest Expedition was to share the experiences of adventure- sports among the youth and foster in them endurance, a spirit of risk taking, co-operative team work and the capacity of ready and vital response to challenging situations.
The Chef de mission mentioned that the Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association (MMTA) was committed to promoting the unique sport and it was their endeavour to give the youths of the region a platform where they could continuously engage themselves with nature. The MMTA produced some excellent climbers including G. Anita Devi who became the first lady from North Eastern India to be conferred the prestigious Padmashri in 2004. Other pioneer climbers of MMTA included mountaineer The Thambou, B. Urmeshwori Devi, M. Jamini Devi and Kh. Bedamani Devi. Nongmaithem Suraj who became the first Manipuri to scale Mt. Everest was the product of the MMTA.
He also extended the invitation to the President of India for visiting the MMTA Complex at lamdan in Manipur on its 28th Raising Day on 27-12-2013.
D.S.Poonia said, “Unlike the Olympics and other sports championships, mountaineers have no audience around them except the Mother nature. They play on Mother’s lap against rolling boulders, icy air and under threat of avalanches”. He appealed to all to bless the brave mountaineers from the North east and wish them all success.
Manipur Agriculture Minister Md Nasir, Members of Parliament- Dr T. Meinya, Thangso baite from Manipur, C.L.Ruola from Mizoram and Bhubaneswar Kalita from Assam , Vice Chairperson of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan Ms. Loitongbam Tilotama and Planning Adviser of North Eastern Council J Lhungdim were also among the dignitaries present in the function.
The expedition team consisted of 14 climbers, including six from Manipur, two each from Arunachal Pradesh , Assam and Sikkim and one from Mizoram and Meghalaya. They were Dr. Leishangthem Surjit Singh (Team Leader), Kazi Sherpa (Deputy Leader), Puyamcha Mohan (Deputy Leader –I) , Ms. Anshu Jansenpa (Deputy Leader-II), Athokpam Robert, Ms. Ningthoujam Bidyapati Devi, Nima Lam, Tarun Saikia, David Zohmangaiha, Anand Gurung, Nameirakpam Chingkheinganba, Ms. Wansuk Myrthong, Waribam James and Manish Kumar Deka(Climbers). Dr. L. Nelson from Manipur was the expedition doctor who would accompany the team up to base camp. Vanlalliana from Mizoram was the base camp manager.
It may be mentioned that the first flag off ceremony of the expedition team was taken place at Imphal on 25th February with the Governor of Manipur Gurbachan Jagat as Chief Guest. The physical conditioning and meditation training of the team was held at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh from February 26 to March 18. On March 22, the team will leave for Kathmandu by flight for expedition preparation and introduction with climbing Sherpas. On March 26, the team will fly to Lukla and trekking will be started to scale the Mt. Everest . The expected date of summit is May 18 and the team will arrive again at Lukla on May 22.