| Kalpana Das protests in front of the Jagannath Temple in Puri on Saturday. Picture by Sarat Patra |
Bhubaneswar, May 21: Kalpana Das, the first Oriya woman to scale Mt Everest in 2008, has accused the state government of failing to fulfil the promises it had made to her.
She said after achieving the feat, she had developed infraction in her brain and chest infection. The state government had felicitated her and made lavish promises. However, Kalpana said, for the last three years she had been running from pillar to post to secure a government job but the authorities have not responded at all.
Das, who had climbed Mt Everest in 2008, today staged a fast in front of the Jagannath Temple in Puri to draw state government's attention to her plight. She has accused the state government of failing to fulfil the promises that it had made to her.
Hundreds of devotees, who had thronged the temple, expressed their solidarity with the 40-year-old Das by donating money for the cause of promotion of sports in the state.
Das had scaled the highest peak in the world along with 20 others on her third attempt on May 21, 2008. She hails from Dhenkanal district and is a lawyer by profession. After achieving this feat, she had developed infraction her in brain and chest infection. The state government had felicitated her and made lavish promises.
Thirty-eight-year-old Ganesh Jena became the first Oriya man to conquer Mt Everest on May 18. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had flagged off his journey in front of the state Assembly on March 30. After his achievement, the chief minister had conveyed his congratulations to him.
In a press release, Das said for the last three years she had been running from pillar to post to secure a government job. “However, the government machinery has turned a deaf ear to my pleas. I have even approached the human rights commission but even they have not responded so far,” she said.
Reacting to Das’ fast, Ramesh Das, a devotee at the temple said: “I was really shocked to see Kalpana begging alms in front of the temple. The government should take note of her appeals and come to her rescue.”
An fan of Das said she was not begging for herself. “Kalpana is begging for the entire sports fraternity of Orissa,” said one of her supporters.
Time and again, sports personalities have alleged neglect on the part of the state government towards their cause. Hockey star Prabodh Tirkey chose to represent Jharkhand in the National Games at Ranchi due the alleged apathetic attitude of the government.
A day after the Orissa football team won the 19th Senior Women’s National Championship at Bhilai, three key players, Sasmita Mallick, Pinky Bompal Magar and Suprava Samal, decided to migrate to Bihar which had helped them secure employment with the East Central Railways. They said they had been forced to make this decision because the government had not provided them jobs or other incentives.