A marathon swim for Swachh Bharat

On Air Force Day on October 8, three swimmers, Wing Commander Paramvir Singh, Sergeant Gullupilli Narahari and Sergeant Saripilli Srihari will plunge into the river Ganga at Devprayag and start swimming.

They will swim 2,800 km to Gangasagar and the expedition, called Ganga Avahan, should take 35 days.

The campaign was launched at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, Nilgiris, to promote Swachh Bharat. It is partnered by the Ministry of Urban Development.  The Commandant of DSSC, Lt. Gen. S.K. Gadeock, AVSM, and the Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu, flagged off the event on October1. 

“We plan to reach Shivpuri on the first night and Haridwar on the second and hope to cover 60 to 80 km each day,” says Wg. Cdr. Paramvir, speaking to The Hindu from Delhi where he and his team mates are preparing for the marathon swim. They will try and swim for approximately 12 hours each day, or at least as long as there is daylight.

One safety raft will accompany them till Haridwar after which two more motorised rafts will be inducted. This is because of the grade 2 to grade 5 rapids in the previous stretch that makes it impossible for motorised rafts. 

Vehicles with a medical team and support staff will accompany the swimmers along the river. This is a tri-services expedition with the rafters being from the Army, Navy and the Air Force.  

“The expedition will draw attention to the ecological challenges being faced by Ganga,” says Wg. Cdr. Paramvir Singh.

The swimmers will be in trunks, goggles and caps and without body suits. This is the first time ever that this swim is being undertaken. “I have rafted down the river in 2013 (Limca Book of Records as the longest rafting expedition of more than 3,000 km.). But swimming is quite another matter,” says Paramvir who was commissioned into the IAF in 1998 in the accounts department.

Paramvir highlighted the challenges saying the waters are home to gharials, snakes, quicksand, rocks and swift currents, besides hyenas. 

The swimmers will spread awareness about Swachh Bharat through posters and talks along the way. All three are seasoned swimmers.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 7:11:22 AM |

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