Patrakar baje doing yeoman’s service

Pokhara, January 28:

Patrakar baje is one reliable medium that links upper Chhomrong village, which lies on the way to the Annapurna base camp, with lowlands, disseminating information that, at times, is crucial for saving lives.

Sun Bahadur Gurung of Chitwan has crossed sixty. People living around the Annapurna base camp address him as Patrakar (journalist) baje (grandpa) not because he is a practising journalist, but because he disseminates information.

For a decade, Patrakar baje has been disseminating news in the upper Chhomrong village, which is yet to be covered by telephone network.

The quick-paced 60-plus baje ferries luggages and loads to the base camp. “I accept whatever people give me for delivering their messages and news,” says a humble baje.

If tourists fall ill or are injured in accidents in highlands, one should climb down to Chhemrong village, which is a day’s walk, to call a helicopter for rescue, JB Gurung of the Annapurna base camp says.

People go to climb Annapurna and other mountains walking along this path.

Avalanches occur on mountains at times. Patrakar baje is always there to make aspiring climbers aware of the mood of the mountains. The people of upper Chhemrong have to walk for 12 hours to make a telephone call. “Our village has not been connected with telephone network yet. This is quite pathetic,” says tourist entrepreneur Jagan Gurung.