Bhubaneswar: The state government has assured to bring back mountaineer Kalpana Dash’s body but mountaineers from the state feel there is little time for that as the terrain could become unreachable by June.
On Friday, they met state sports and youth services department officials and the Governor in this regard.
The spot is reportedly at an altitude of approximately 8,600m in the balcony area of Mount Everest.
Odia mountaineer Ganesh Jena met the Governor along with Kalpana’s sister.
Jena says there is very little time for the body to be brought back to India. “The balcony area is the last base camp before the peak. Bringing the body from there to the base camp would be extremely difficult. And we do not have time in our hands,” said Jena.
Kalpana Dash, the first person from the state to climb Mount Everest, passed away on Thursday, during descent, after successfully scaling Mt Everest for the second time.
Her untimely demise has shocked the nation and mountaineering fraternity alike.
Kalpana, 53, was leading a three-member team on this expedition.
Nepal apart, she has scaled several peaks in Europe, South America and North America.
“I am saddened to learn about the demise of Kalpana Dash while descending from Mt. Everest,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said. “Her legacy in mountaineering will inspire generations of young women in the state.”
Vishal K Dev, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Department of Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha, said, “Kalpana Dash had repeatedly brought accolades to the state and in her loss the state has lost one of its finest. We are committed to bringing her mortal remains back to her state. We have written to the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu and are in touch with them regarding search and rescue operations.”
Since the expedition season is coming to an end in the next three days, the embassy has been urged to take up the search and recovery operation on priority and the expenses will be borne by the state government.
A team of mountaineers, led by Jogabyasa Bhoi, also wrote to the chief minister on Thursday showing similar concerns.
“We are in touch with sherpas and they said they would help us get the body back. We have been told that around Rs 30 lakh needs to be spent to bring back the body. But the problem is the routes would be closed soon and we have very less time now,” she said.
“We need to get the permits and there are other issues involved. I feel a team of mountaineers from the state should be appointed at the earliest for the task. We need a minimum of 15 days to complete the entire process and we are already running short of it,” said Bhoi.