New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday flagged-in the Ganga Avahan team which has completed a record 2,800-km-long swim along the entire length of the river spreading awareness about government initiatives like 'Swachh Bharat', 'Clean Ganga' and 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao'.
Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu had on October 1 flagged off the challenging expedition, a tri-service venture, involving the swim in Ganga river from Devprayag in Uttarakhand to Ganga Sagar in West Bengal.
The nine-member expedition was led by team leader Wg Cdr Paramvir Singh of Indian Air Force and included two other swimmers, three rafters and two supporting staff from Indian Army and Indian Navy.
The Ganga Avahan team had started the swim in Ganga from its origin in Devprayag on October 8 to commemorate 83rd anniversary of Indian Air Force.
The expedition is also aimed at establishing a world record, which was earlier attempted by several swimmers from various countries without success.
The expedition was highly challenging, fraught with several perils like pollution and debris, besides marine creatures like snakes and crocodiles.
However, an IAF officer more than animals, pollution could be termed the bigger challenge.
For instance, in Kanpur, the river water was so polluted that no one can even stand close to the bank, but the team swam there as well and spread the message.
An additional challenge was to decipher the correct course of the Ganges, which has been undergoing a change due to various environmental conditions.
The GPS also did not show accurate results especially because the Ganges has changed its course after 2012 Uttarakhand devastation.