First Oriya mountaineer on sit-in agitation

Puri: While the whole state is basking in glory with Ganesh Jena becoming the second Oriya to scale Mt. Everest last week, the first Oriya mountaineer from the state to achieve the feat, Kalpana Dash, has embarked upon a sit-in agitation in front of the Lord Jagannath temple here.

The stir, which was launched to protest the state government’s alleged callousness in providing her a decent job despite such a rare accomplishment, entered day two today.

Incidentally, Dash had scaled Mt. Everest, the highest ever peak of the world, exactly three years ago-21 May 2008. She was the first Oriya mountaineer and as such the first woman to achieve the feat.

“I had been requesting the state government to give me an employment opportunity for the last three years; however, none ever paid any heed.  Helpless, I thought launching a stir will wake the government from the slumber,” said a visibly broken Dash.

What attracted a large number of people including foreigners to the agitation spot was the mountaineer get-up of Dash. Sporting the oxygen cylinder and holding spikes and other mountaineering gear, Ms. Dash continued to sit under the scorching sun these two days.

To display the government’s apathy and indifference to her despite the mo mean achievement, Dash also resorted to symbolic begging from the onlookers.  

“The politicians and officers in the state government may have turned a deaf ear to my requests; but, I am confident that the Lord of the universe, Jagannath, will have pity on me,” said Dash seemingly getting emotive.

In the meantime, a number of citizens’ outfits and individuals have extended morel support for the agitating mountaineer.

It should be noted that Kalpana Dash is the first Oriya mountaineer who reached world`s highest peak, the Mount Everest on 21 May 2008. She successfully climbed the 8,848-meter the highest peak of world, Mt. Everest. Belonging from Dhenkanal district, this 43-year-old woman, who is a lawyer by profession, had cherished a dream of climbing Mt. Everest ever since her childhood. Unfazed by a number of unsuccessful attempts, Dash had finally achieved her target to scale the mountain.