The villagers of Manipur in Tamenglong, which is one of the remotest corner of the country, where the India shining story has not yet reached; but the villagers are part of modern India’s most ambitious road project embarked upon by one man, Armstrong Pame, a young Naga IAS officer, without any funding from the government. At least 150 of them on a daily basis are clearing away a thicket with their machetes and days and are lugging away heavy branches of recently felled trees, and others are operating bulldozers and earthmovers to build the road.
Armstrong Pame is a 2005 graduate from St Stephen’s College in Delhi and is the sub-divisional magistrate of Tamenglong, his home district, and the first IAS officer from the Zeme tribe. Pame out of his own accord has begun the construction of a 100-km road that would link Manipur with Nagaland and Assam. The Centre had sanctioned Rs 101 crore in 1982 for the construction of this road, but for some unknown reason, the project never took off. Previously it took two days for anyone in the village to make it to the nearest hospital on foot in the absence of a motor-able road. This endangered the lives of many patients that needed to reach the city for proper medical facilities. The building of this road would help several of their causes.
Pame along with his family pooled more than Rs 4 lakh to start the project initially. Now however donation centers have been set up in Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati, Shillong and Dimapur and NRIs from Canada, USA and the UK have been sending their contributions for the project christened as Tamenglong-Haflong Road. Gaigondin Panmei, Indian Revenue Service officer believes that this road could be extremely helpful in boosting up Manipur’s economy. Pame showed how education and strong will can help an individual bring a change in his community.
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