Siachen is known as the world’s highest battlefield. The Siachen glacier lies between Saltoro range line in the west and the main Karakoram range in the east. And India’s brave soldiers have been guarding these high Himalayan ranges, situated around 7000 meters, since the beginning of operation ‘Meghdoot.’
Extremely harsh, body and mind-numbing weather is the biggest challenge these soldiers have to face while securing the Indian’s border. At times, the temperature here can plummet to minus 50-degree Celsius, and guarding the 76 kilometre long border tests the levels of human endurance against the cold weather and low oxygen levels.
In order to help these brave men, who battle with the extreme weather conditions for their motherland India, a Pune-based couple has decided to raise funds to construct an oxygen generation plant at the Siachen base camp. The base camp is at 13,000 feet above the sea level.
Sumedha and Yohesh Chithade, have begun crowdfunding, but by setting an example themselves. Sumedha, a teacher by profession has sold her bangles and has raised Rs 1.25 lakhs to raise funds for the cause. They know that the task lying ahead of them is huge. They have to raise Rs 1.10 crores, to set-up an oxygen plant at the Siachen base camp.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Yogesh Chithade, who is a banker says, “Our aim is to give this oxygen plant as a Diwali gift to our brave soldiers. No gift can be as precious as this. While battling the extreme weather, oxygen for the soldiers is vital to support their life. I know the task is herculean, but we are determined. We have started crowdfunding, to help the soldiers with the oxygen plant.”
Yogesh further says, “While asking money from people, first you should start by contributing yourself. So, we decided to contribute from our own pocket. We have raised Rs 1.25 lakhs by selling the bangles of my wife. To take this project forward, I am meeting lots of people along with NGO’s and other organisations. I am explaining them about the project.”
The Chithade’s have started a trust called SIRF, Soldiers Independent Rehabilitation Foundation in 1999, to help the soldiers and their families. Through this trust, the Chithade’s are trying to crowdfund money to build an oxygen plant in Siachen.
Sumedha Chithade, who is a teacher by profession says, “First my husband told me that we will generate money by breaking our fixed deposits. But, I told him, rather than breaking the FD’s we can sell the bangles. The bangles are not a necessity as of now. So we sold it and raised funds.”
Once this plant is set at the base camp, the army can refill the oxygen cylinders used by the soldiers. This plant can beneficial for around 9,000 army men, who are risking their lives to protect India.
Yogesh says, “Even the smallest contribution of Rs 1 would mean a lot. But, people should come forward and help this cause.”