M A I N   N E W S

Kaithal girl scales Mt Everest
Satish Seth

Kaithal, May 22
Some good news from the heartless Haryana heartland notorious for its khap panchayats and caste violence: Defying all odds, a young girl from a poor Dalit family of Kaithal today scaled Mt Everest.

It was an arduous journey for 30-year-old Mamta Sodha, who fulfilled her long-cherished dream of scaling the world’s highest peak. She teaches at a college in Kurukshetra and her mother is a widow.

Mamta was selected for Mission Mount Everest-2010 in December last and was part of the expedition organised by Tread Adventure Tourism. A student of MPhil at Kurukshetra University, she has scaled many a peak earlier, besides having participated in various inter-university and national handball championships. Mamta had also undergone intensive training at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at Uttarakhand and was a member of the National Adventure Club.

“We are very proud of Mamta’s feat,” Haryana’s Financial Commissioner Dhanpat Singh said.

For her family, the conquering of Mt Everest by her is a moment of pride “not just for them, but for entire Haryana”. These sentiments were expressed by Mahesh Sodha, Mamta’s brother.

Mamta lives with her family here. Mahesh, a lawyer, said rock climbing had been his sister’s obsession. “I can imagine how happy she must be on realising the biggest dream of her life,” the proud brother said. Mamta has in the past has scaled Morni Peak, Inderhara Pass and Friendship Peak. She set off on her latest excursion to scale the highest peak in the world on April 27. Before that, she scaled Iceland Peak for acclimatisation.

Eldest of the five siblings, she completed her M.PEd. from Kurukshetra University in 2005. She did her graduation from RKSD College, Kaithal. Mamta’s father, Laxman Dass Sodha, who was an inspector in Haryana Food and Supplies Department, always inspired her to leave no stone unturned to realise her dream.

Even after his death in 2004, her mother, Mewa Devi, besides her two brothers and two sisters, encouraged her to continue her adventurous life. However, she had to face a lot of problems . Finance was the biggest problem.

Mahesh said the government and the administration proved to be very helpful. Haryana Minister for PWD and Public Health Randeep Singh Surjewala was the first to come to her help with a sum of Rs 51,000, the state government gave Rs 3 lakh, Kurukshetra MP Naveen Jindal Rs 5 lakh and DC Amneet P Kumar contributed Rs 2.5 lakh to help her accomplish her mission.

Meanwhile, Naveen Jindal, president of All-India Kisan Khet Mazdoor Congress Shamsher Singh Surjewala, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Amneet P Kumar and principal of RKSD College SK Garg have hailed Mamta’s achievement.





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