'Assam to send Everest team next year'

Guwahati/ IMPHAL: Assam chief minister TarunGogoi said on Thursday that a team from Assam would lead an expedition to Mt Everest next year. He was speaking at a ceremony to felicitate Everest conquerors TarunSaikia and Manish Kumar Deka at the SrimantaSankaradevaKalakshetra. Both Saikia and Deka were assured of government jobs.

The duo received monetary incentives worth Rs 20 lakh each. They were also given official citations. Saikia became the first Assamese to scale Everest on May 18 and Deka followed suit on May 24. Sports minister Ajit Singh and forest minister Rockybul Hussein were also present.

In Imphal, five Manipuri climbers, including a girl and two NCC boys, who scaled Mt Everest last month and team members of the Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association (MMTA) received a rousing welcome on Thursday. Among them, N Bidyapati Devi conquered Everest on May 17, thereby becoming the first Manipuri woman to scale the peak, while 16-year-old Nameirakpam Chingkheinganba became the youngest climber from the northeast to scale the Everest. After the MMTA team arrived in the morning, they were taken around the city in a motorcycle with people throwing flowers and garlands at them. At the Khuman Lampak stadium complex, they were accorded a warm reception by MMTA and the observation committee of the 12th Great June Uprising, Unity Day - 2013 (AMUCO and UCM).

Chingkheinganba reached the peak on May 18 while Puyamcha Mohon and NCC boys Chirom Shankar Singh and Ph Bidyachand Singh accomplished their feats the following day. Chingkheinganba, Bidyapati and Puyamcha Mohon are among the 11 Everest summiteers of the First North East India Mt Everest Expedition 2013, organized by MMTA.

"We accomplished our feat with the prayers and blessings of the people. The success is the fruit of MMTA's 30-year dream to conquer Mt Everest," said the expedition leader and MMTA president, L Surjit.

Bidyapati said it was a wonderful experience. "Before summiting the peak, I experienced very bad weather with the wind blowing at 80 km per hour forcing other climbers numbering over 70 to move down, but my determination egged me on," said Bidyapati.