As part of promotion of adventure sports, tourism and developing self confidence among the rustic youth, especially girls, as many as 24 trainees, including nine girls, have embarked on an expedition under the guidance of the National Adventure Foundation director in the Mahanadi.
The voyage was kicked off on August 2 at Sambalpur, which will be completed after the rafting team members reach Paradip on Friday. On Thursday, the team reached at Kalapada in Kendrapada.
According foundation director Rabindra Kumar Bhuiyan, some tribal girls are in his team in the rafting expedition. It would also pave the way for the tribal youth to promote wildlife and nature trail, added Bhuiyan.
The participants are from Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Boudh, Cuttack, Kendrapada and Khurda districts. Except three, the rest participants in the team do not have any past experience in the rafting expedition. Nor had they gone in a voyage. The team will cover a distance of 296 km within eight days, Bhuiyan informed. “We chose the Mahanadi river for the rafting expedition as it is the longest river in the State and covers 296 km between Samabalpur and Paradip touching hundreds of riverside villages,” said Rojalin Patnaik, a participant.
Another participant, Laxmi Bhengra, sharing her last seven days rafting experience, stated that she along with her co-rafters covered white water, greenery, wildlife sanctuary and remote areas during the voyage. Though during the starting of voyage she was very nervous, but gradually she gained confidence, she said.
“During the expedition, we faced a difficult phase from Boudh to Tikarpada in view of the white water current and crocodile threat. There was life risk in that stretch. But with confidence, we managed to pass the hurdles and are all set to hit the destination at Paradip,” said Samir Patel, a rafter.
The rafters received generous welcome from hundreds of riverside villages during their voyage. At some places, they had brief stopovers to interact with the curious villagers. At Kalapada, they received much encouragement from the villagers who garlanded them, applied vermilion and sandalwood paste on their foreheads and gave them sweets. Kendrapada SP Sarthak Sarangi too came to the river bank and encouraged the rafting team.