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The four scaled the world’s highest mountain on Wednesday. Kavidas Katemode and Umakant Madavi were the first to reach the summit at 3.25am, while Parmesh Aale and Manisha Dhurve followed them at 4.25am and 4.35am respectively.
They were part of the 10-student ‘Mission Shourya’ expedition dispatched from Chandrapur to scale Mount Everest. Two others of the group, Vikas Soyam and Indu Kannake, are going to make an attempt at scaling the peak on May 17 and May 18 respectively. While Umakant, Parmesh and Manisha belong to Devada Ashram School, Kavidas is from Jiwti Ashram School.
“The feat is more significant since the students did not even know the name of the highest summit in the world before they were selected for the task an year ago. These students had never stepped out of Chandrapur in their lives,” said an official. ‘Mission Shourya’ is a joint initiative of Chandrapur collectorate and the tribal development department. The administration took great efforts to prepare tribal students for the Everest expedition over the last one year.
A total of 50 tribal students had been picked from Borda, Devada and Jiwti Ashram schools, and were given primary mountaineering training at Wardha. The group later underwent residential training at the Chandrapur district stadium, while they stayed and continued studies at the Borda Ashram school, a few kilometres from the city. These students were then sent to the mountaineering school at Bhonegiri, Hyderabad, for training. Their underwent their final 25 days of training at the height of 18,000 feet, at the Himalaya Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling.
Out of the 50, students attaining ‘A’ grade were sent for Advanced Winter Training at Leh, Kashmir. Out of them, the top 10 students were selected for the final expedition.
The students had started off on Mission Shourya on April 8, in the presence of finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and tribal development minister Vishnu Sawra. The team left from Kathmandu on April 11, and reached the Mount Everest base camp on April 20 to formally begin their expedition. The team of tribal students was accompanied by their trainer Bimla Negi-Deoskar, who was part of the all-woman team of Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb the Everest. She had also attempted to summit Everest in 2015 from the North face, the same route taken by the students now, but turned back after an earthquake left the Everest Base Camp in ruins.
The students were also accompanied by support staff and 15 Sherpas in the final phase of their mission.
“We are looking to institutionalize the scheme and include more adventure sports. A sum of Rs 3.6 crore has been sanctioned for the project,” Manisha Verma, principal secretary of the department, told