Help at hand if you lose way in mountain treks

The lure of exploring natural views and finding rare flora and fauna drives many to the Sahyadri range, but a misstep, and the adventure can easily turn into a misadventure.

At such times, it is quite a task to find help in these sparsely, often barely , populated areas. Over two dozen mountaineering clubs and individuals have come together to set up a helpline to rescue and guide those in need anywhere in the state.

The helpline number 7620230231 of the Maharashtra Mountaineers Rescue Coordination Center (MMRCC) was launched by city-based Guardian Giripremi Institute of Mountaineering at the end of August. Umesh Zirpe told TOI, “A group of four volunteers man the call centre round the clock to offer help and rapidly coordinate rescue efforts across rural parts of the state.“

To facilitate such an operation, as many as 25 mountaineering clubs and a total of 327 volunteers have been roped in. “All these clubs are experts in their respective regions and hence can serve as the best line of action in case of a rescue op. Our helpline team has a database with their contacts as well as that of locals at various major trekking points of Maharashtra.So they know the closest rescuers to contact when a distress call comes in,“ Umesh Zirpe said.

The idea is to have a centralised response mechanism system across the state.

In addition, the state’s 108 ambulance service has also assured the helpline of providing immediate response on the spot where a rescue has been undertaken. The helpline service is voluntary and the group is now trying to set up a corpus to fund insurance for the rescuers and modernisation of equipment.

Source : TOI