Mamata Banerjee gets towering gifts - from the Himalayas

May 21st, 2011 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kathmandu, May 21 (IANS) When Elizabeth II was being crowned in London in 1953, the celebrations received an extra boost with the news arriving in London that Mt Everest had fallen with Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa becoming the first men to reach its 8,848-metre summit.

In an almost parallel situation, as feisty Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee took oath of office and became the first woman chief minister of West Bengal, the mighty Himalayas bestowed gifts galore on her with four climbers from West Bengal conquering towering peaks and enhancing the image of her state.

Two men from Joypurbil in West Bengal’s Howrah district made the state proud Saturday by summiting Mt Everest as an individual initiative.

Rajib Bhattacharya, a 38-year-old small-time businessman from Howrah, walked tall as he stood on the world’s highest peak at 9.55 a.m., accompanied by his mountain guide Phurbu Sherpa from Nepal.

About two hours later, his travelling and mountaineering friend Dipankar Ghosh, 46, also reached the summit with his Sherpa guide Kama Sherpa, said Loben Sherpa of Loben Expeditions.

The number 13 proved lucky for the two Howrah heroes who are part of a 13-member expedition that also includes climbers from Australia, Japan, Brazil, Denmark and Sweden.

Sharon Cohrs, a 40-year-old Australian who is part of the expedition, will become the first breast cancer survivor to ascend Mt Everest. She is climbing to raise funds for research as well as raise awareness about the killer disease.

Earlier, a double bonanza for West Bengal came from another pair of bravehearts from Krishnanagar, Basanta Sinha Roy and Debashish Biswas.

Roy, 50, and Biswas, 40, summited Mt Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world after Mt Everest and K2.

“They reached the 8,586-metre summit Friday, the day Mamata Banerjee took her oath as the new chief minister of West Bengal,” Loben Sherpa said.

“It was a great gift for the new government with the feat enhancing West Bengal’s image as a land of intrepid climbers and adventurers.”

It was all the more remarkable since the duo had summited Mt Everest last year.

While Sinha Roy is an employee of Punjab National Bank, Biswas is an Income-Tax official in Kolkata.

Though after their achievement last year, they were felicitated by the then Left Front government in the presence of erstwhile chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, the two men had raised the funds needed for the expedition mostly on their own, taking personal loans that they could pay off only this year.

It has been an incredible mountaineering year for the individual Indian climber with 17 people trying to summit Mt Everest on their own and many succeeding. While Haryana leads the way with the majority of the aspirants from there, Orissa, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh have also made their mark.

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