Noted mountaineer from Uttarakhand Harshwanti Bisht has earned the distinction of being elected the first woman president of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF). She was elected to the coveted post on November 20, winning 60 out of a total of 107 votes.
It is for the first time that a woman has been elected as the president of the IMF, which was founded in the year 1958. Bisht, 62, who hails from a village named Sukai in Pauri district, says promoting mountaineering and other adventure sports, and bringing more women into the field will be among her priorities.
Bisht, who has been honoured with the Arjuna award for her achievements in the field of mountaineering, said there was a time when Uttarakhand used to be at the top when it came to adventure sports like mountaineering but the scenario has changed in the recent years.
The policy adopted by the state government vis-a-vis adventure sports has become more complicated in the recent times, denting the enthusiasm of people who want to join the field. "My effort will be to increase coordination with the forest and tourism departments and have the policy amended, so that more and more people take to adventure sports," she said.
She also said she will seek the advice of the state tourism department on how to give a boost to mountaineering and trekking activities.Bisht, who did a course in mountaineering from the Uttarkashi-based Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in 1975, scaled the Nanda Devi peak in 1981 which earned her the Arjuna award.
She was also a member of an expedition team to Mount Everest in 1984. A professor of economics, Bisht recently retired as the principal of PG College, Uttarkashi.