Calcutta, Sept. 21: The two members of the mountaineering team from Barasat on the northern fringes of the city who were missing after being caught in a blizzard in the Gangotri glacial range are still untraced.
Arijit Banerjee from Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas and Tusharendu Rakshit from Agartala in Tripura were part of the expedition that scaled the 22,140 feet-high Kedardome in the Garhwal Himalayas on Wednesday. The mountaineers were trapped in the snowstorm on their way down. Many were injured but barring two all members of the team came down safe.
Manoj Mandal, secretary of a Kanchrapara-based mountaineering training institute that had a member in the expedition, said: “We are worried about the youths who are yet to be traced. A five-member team of High Altitude Porters (HAP) sent in search of the missing duo returned empty handed.”
A 10-member HAP team was sent today. “We hope something will emerge in a day or two. We are in touch with the team,” said Mandal.
The secretary of the mountaineering federation under whose banner the expedition was kicked off, Arun Chakraborty, alleged that they did not get much help from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, a central institute, in the rescue mission. “Help from the institute was almost nil. Officials pleaded helplessness saying they did not receive any directive from the Uttaranchal government,” he said. Chakraborty, however, added that the defence ministry had pressed into service a helicopter this morning.
Sixteen-year-old Lakshmi Debnath committed suicide at her home in Nabadwip, Nadia, last night. Police said the Class IX student was caught cheating during an English test and was scolded by the invigilator.