File picture of the TSAF base camp in Rawada that was washed away by floods recently
The charm of the majestic Garhwal mountains in the Himalayas seems to have caught the fancy of Jamshedpur residents, with Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) being swamped with a record number of entries for its winter outdoor leadership course.
The course, which sees the participants climbing the lofty peaks of Garhwal Himalayas during a period of three-months, has already seen a total of 658 applications pouring in from various corporate houses. The course is scheduled to start from September 22.
The record number of entries this year, which has comfortably surpassed the previous high of 438 registrations witnessed in 2011, has also forced the foundation authorities to postpone the training of two groups to next year.
“All the participants who have registered with us will be divided into smaller groups for the exercise. As the exercise is already overcrowded, we have decided to postpone the climb of two groups from Tata Motors to February next year,” TSAF secretary P.P. Kapadia told The Telegraph.
He added that they had also asked the corporate houses this time around to trim down the number of entries that they send, as they wanted to reduce the number of people in each group.
“Earlier, we used to accommodate around 55-60 people in a group. But this year we are hoping that the numbers are around 45-50 in a group. Smaller groups mean better management. It otherwise becomes a Herculean task in the winter for instructors to manage the groups,” Kapadia said.
The six companies who have recommended the names of their employees this time are Tata Steel, Tata Bluescope, Tata Steel Processing and Distribution Ltd, Tata Chemicals, North Delhi Power Company Ltd and Tata Motors, including the automobile giants plants in Pantnagar, Lucknow, Pune, Mumbai and Sanand (Gujarat).
The groups will be climbing the 13,500ft Surya Top during their winter course. “We'll wrap up the course by December 18. We may have to, however, drop anchor elsewhere in the Gangotri region as our base camp at Rawada, 12km from Uttarkashi, is completely damaged due to the recent floods,” Kapadia said, adding they have sent a senior instructor to inspect the extent of their losses.
The TSAF secretary also went on to claim that they had not approached any corporate houses this time around and the response was spontaneous. “The response to our winter course shows that the corporate sector is showing interest towards our outdoor leadership course, which is a good sign,” Kapadia said.
The secretary added that the requests were still trickling in.
“But we are helpless. We cannot accommodate any more due to reasons of logistics,” he said.