Bhagirathi-Hooghly Kayak Expedition (2000)

North Bengal – Sagar Island – Calcutta

This was an innovative trip that mixed business with pleasure in exhilarating proportions. For, the purpose of this expedition was not just adventure, but also to assess the degree of pollution in the Ganga and Bhagirathi caused by industries along their banks, to judge the navigability of the rivers at various points along the course and to gauge the maintenance of tourist spots along the river bank.

The team, under the leadership of Mr. Tapas Chowdhury, set sail from the Farakka CISF Jetty on December 6th. The eight kayaks of the expedition were accompanied with a launch that had on board two environmental analysts. The intrepid voyagers navigated treacherous whirlpools as they sailed ahead of the Feeder Canal into the mainstream of the Bhagirathi and then past Raghunathgunj, Hazarduari, Beldanga, Katoya and Mayapur.

After rowing for five days along the distributary of the Ganga, the team reached Balagarrh from where they headed for Serampore and then reached Sagar Island on December 15th. A similar route was traced backwards to the River Traffic Police Jetty at Outram Ghat, Kolkata, where the indomitable seamen were given a flamboyant welcome by 20 spirited girls and boys who swam up to Outram Ghat to receive them.

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