Kolkata, May 24 UNI | 2 months ago

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has sought permission from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to go to Nepal for expediting rescue operation of mountaineer Chanda Gayen, who remained missing since Tuesday while trying to climb West Ridge of Kanchenjunga peak.

AITC General Secretary Mukul Roy said Ms Banerjee planned to go to the base camp along with Chanda's mother for which clearance from the External Affairs Ministry was needed.

Nepal consul-general in Kolkata Chandra Kumar Ghimere held a meeting with Ms Banerjee at Nabanna last evening and assured her that the Government of Nepal was making every effort to ensure that the rescue operation was conducted properly.

"Ms Banerjee wants to leave for Nepal if necessary clearance is received. Despite several attempts we failed to contact officials of the MEA," said Youth Affairs Minister Aroop Biswas at Nabanna.

The state chief secretary has written to Mr S Rao, Indian High Commissioner in Nepal assuring that all expenses for the rescue operation will be borne by the state government.

Mr Biswas said the two-member rescue team, comprising climbers Ujjwal Roy and Devdas Nandi, the state government had sent reached the Kanchenjunga Base Camp by helicopter yesterday.

"The team will be accompanied by Tashi, the sherpa who was with Chanda and three others during their climb to the Kanchenjunga main peak last week," Mr Biswas said.

After meeting the chief minister, Mr Ghimere said search and rescue operations were continuing to trace her. "The Nepal government has put in its best efforts to rescue the mountaineer," he said.

Mr Ghimere said the part of Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal from where Chanda had gone missing was "the most complicated region" and it required a special team and infrastructure.

The inclement weather hampered the search operation earlier but since then weather condition had improved and operations would continue tomorrow.

Ms Banerjee visited the climber's house at Dasnagar in Howrah in the last evening and spent about half an hour with her family members.

(Posted on 24-05-2014)