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A young Naga IAS officer, Armstrong Pame has been recently come into lime light of national media due to modern India’s most ambitious road project enterprises by one man, without any funding from the government. He is the sub-divisional magistrate of Tamenglong, his home district, and incidentally the first IAS officer from the Zeme tribe.
He has voluntarily taken up a project of the construction of a 100-km road project christened as Tamenglong-Haflong Road that would connect Manipur with Nagaland and Assam. Incidentally, the Centre had sanctioned Rs 101 Crores in 1982 for the construction of this road, but for some unknown reason the project never took off.
Earlier villagers of Manipur’s Tousem sub-division in Tamenglong district used to walk down to the district headquarters about 60km away and carry 25 kilos of rice back home. It used to take them four days to go and come back and the rations used to last for two weeks. In case of any serious illness it takes two days for anyone in the villages to make it to the nearest hospital on foot due to the absence of a motorable road.
Frustrated with the situation, Pame decided to construct an all-weather, motorable road in an area which remains untouched even after six decades after independence. To initiate the project, they hired a bulldozer and bought two earthmovers with the money pooled up from officer himself and his family.
However that was not enough. So, they created a Facebook fan page, requesting for financial help and donations, and the response has been overwhelming, lakhs of money collected from all over the world just in a few days. The villagers are too providing food and accommodation for the workers; some are supplying fuel for the earthmovers. They have also provided manpower for the project.
The road construction began in August 2012, but stopped middle of the project due to the heavy rains. It resumed in September 2012, and till now 70km road works has been completed.