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New peak for adventure outfit

Jamshedpur, May 18: Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) will soon have a new home in the Himalayas, which promises to be better, exotic and of course greener.

The foundation, which had been scouting for land to set up its new base camp, has zeroed in on a plot at Rawada village between Uttarkashi and Sangam Chatti along the Gangotri route and will commence work on setting up the camp soon.

The new base camp will be about 12km away from the present base camp at Uttraon village, 25km from Uttarkashi.

“We had been looking for land to set up a new base camp for sometime now and have finally earmarked a plot in Rawada village. Initial rounds of talks held with village committee members have been fruitful,” TSAF secretary P.P. Kapadia told The Telegraph.

He added that chief of Tata Steel adventure programmes Bachendri Pal was holding talks with members of the village committee on the foundation’s behalf.

“We are in fact very satisfied with the response of villagers in the talks. They’ve been very positive. Village committee members are willing to offer us land on a lease basis that will be renewed every year. Logistics related to lease and rent will be sorted out shortly and work on the construction of the camp will begin soon,” Kapadia said, adding that Bachendri, currently leading a team to a outdoor leadership programme near Uttarkashi, had spared time for the talks.

Kapadia was also quick to point out that the new base camp would be different from the existing one.

“The new camp will boast semi-constructed structures with a lecture and a dining hall. These apart, hikers will get toilets,” Kapadia said.

The secretary minced no words in criticising the village committee at Uttraon, which banned even the construction of toilets.

“The committee members weren’t supportive of the fact that we wanted to set up toilets and lecture and dining halls. These limitations actually made our team members glum while on outdoor leadership programmes. We have been forced to look for an alternative plot. Rawada appears to be a lot more promising,” Kapadia said, citing the fact that their village committee had been very helpful.

“We are also looking to send a team to explore the area and see if more facilities can be added,” he said.

Interestingly, before the base camp at Uttraon, TSAF had been using a base camp at Ganeshpur village that is also located on Gangotri trek route.

“These locations are ideal for the success of our outdoor programmes. The trek route to 13,500 ft Surya Top is easily accessible from these places located on the Gangotri region. And Rawada certainly fits the bill,” Kapadia said, adding the new camp will be opened for programme participants in winter.

The TSAF programmes are a major hit among adventure enthusiasts from Jamshedpur, with large numbers, including corporate professionals and even homemakers thronging to participate every year.

Apart from city denizens, participants from all over India love being part of the Himalayan jaunts.

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