A file picture of the TSAF base camp at Uttarkashi’s Rawada that was wiped out in last year’s flood
Tata Steel Adventure Foundation has decided to start and wrap up its outdoor leadership programme early next summer.
TSAF sources said the programme this year would start on February 9 and conclude on June 16 — almost a month before its usual completion deadline in the last week of July.
TSAF officials said the flood last year — that wiped out the adventure foundation’s base camp at Uttarkashi’s Rawada — had jolted them into action and necessitated the change. They did not want to take any risk this year.
Interestingly, a sizeable number of employees, including women, from Tata Steel and its sister concerns have already signed up for next year’s programme.
“To be honest, the flood has shaken us. We do not want to risk the lives of over 800 participants who have enrolled for the programme. Hence, we thought that it would be better if we started and finished early this year,” TSAF secretary P.P. Kapadia said.
He added that though the foundation had been conducting the outdoor summer and winter programmes for corporate sector and management institutions for the past 28 years or so, the dates had never been tinkered with. The adventure junkies are made to climb the 13,500ft Surya Top in Garhwal ranges of the Himalayas during the programme.
“A 40-member group from Tata Motors had a lucky escape after boulders came crashing down on our new base camp at Rawada village on July 4 last year. The group had been delayed and could not make it to the camp on time, which saved them. Imagine what would have happened had they been present at the site when the boulders started coming down,” Kapadia said.
He added that it would be foolish to underestimate the power of nature again.
“The lives of our participants are precious. We are responsible for their safety and security. The instructors have been told about the change in schedule,” the TSAF secretary said.
Kapadia further said the team of instructors would be dropping anchor in Jamshedpur on December 23. They are currently in the Himalayas conducting the winter outdoor leadership programme, which concludes on December 20.
He also recalled the summer of 1991 when an earthquake had rattled them.
“The summer programme was underway in 1991. The participants were camping at Ganeshpur when the tremors were felt. But we did not suffer any damage and none of the participants was hurt then as we were camping in the open. Neither did it necessitate a change in our schedule. But flood is a different thing,” Kapadia signed off.