Armstrong Pame, an IAS officer who built a 100-km road of his own, without any govt funding
Armstrong Pame, a graduate from St Stephen’s College in Delhi, is the first IAS officer from the Zeme tribe. This young Naga IAS officer built a 100-km road that links Manipur with Nagaland and Assam, without any funding from the government.
The village is one of the remotest corners of the country, where concept modern life was a far cry. But now, villagers of Manipur’s Tousem sub-division in Tamenglong district are part of modern India’s most ambitious road project embarked upon by Armstrong Pame.
The state government declared that it would be ‘done soon’, but nothing moved on the ground. Then in June-July that year, there was an outbreak of tropical diseases like typhoid and malaria. It takes two days for anyone in the village to make it to the nearest hospital on foot in the absence of a motorable road. Hundreds of patients had to be carried on makeshift bamboo stretchers, but very few made it to the town alive. Also, town doctors were unwilling to come to the village because of its inaccessible terrain, Armstrong Pame said.
As a solution to the problem, Pame, who was named after famous American astronaut Neil Armstrong, contacted doctors in his friend circle. A lady agreed and she treated over 500 patients and conducted quite a few minor surgeries. But Pame knew that it was just a temporary solution to the problem. So, he decided to build the road of his own and turned to his family and well wishers to help.
I was really moved by the plight of the people; so I decided to raise the funds on my own in August 2012 through Facebook. Charity must begin from home; so I put in Rs. 5 lakh and my brother, who teaches at the Delhi University, donated Rs.1 lakh. Even my mother paid my dad’s one month’s pension of Rs. 5,000.
To start the project, initial funds were collected from the family members. But it was not enough; hence he took the help of social media. He raised a huge amount for this purpose through the Facebook page. For his efforts in building road with donation and volunteers, he was even invited to Facebook headquarters in California. He was nominated for CNN-IBN Indian of the Year in Public service category in 2012. The 100 km road is popularly known as ‘People’s road’.
Image Credit: sevendiary