Kolkata June 3 (IANS) Sixty National Cadet Corps cadets, including 15 girls, Monday completed a 19-day sailing expedition down the Ganga from Farakka in Murhsidabad district to Kolkata, covering around 430 km.
The cadets from West Bengal and Sikkim, aged between 16 and 18 years, started off May 13, in four whaler class boats.
Along the route, they halted at Raghunathganj, Baharampur, Katwa, Nabadwip, Kalna, Rishra and Dakshineswar.
On the way, the participants were imparted naval training, including sailing, boat handling, river navigation, towing. Besides, they also got a peek into the rich cultural heritage of the state.
The cadets also took part in social service activities like pulse polio immunization drive, tree plantation, cleaning of roads, literacy drive, AIDS control programme and “Save the Tiger” and Save the Girl Child” campaigns.
“At times the weather conditions were extremely difficult. We often had to manoeuvre the boats against the heavy current and tidal waves. Then our seniors taught us the tricks of overcoming the hurdles,” 18-year-old N. Swarna said.
She said there were spots where the Ganga had become “very polluted”. “We had problems in sailing. We later tried to increase awareness among the locals about river pollution and suggested steps for preventing it during our cultural programmes.”
“The aim of the expedition is to inculcate a spirit of adventure and healthy competition among the cadets, besides making them mentally and physically tough,” said an NCC officer who escorted the expedition.
“I am no more afraid of water. This expedition has given me enough confidence to face turbulences of life,” said 17-year-old Riya Sargi.
The cadets were flagged in by state West Bengal Civil Defence Minister Javed Khan at the Man of War Jetty.