HOW ASSAM RIFLES BUILT ‘PEOPLE’S EFFORT ROAD’ WITH LOCALS

by Editorial

Dikuiram, a village located on the banks of Barak River in Tamei Sub-division of Tamenglong district. It is located approximately 22 km away from Sub Divisional HQ at Tamei by a single road. It is only through this road that another roughly 35 villages in the hinterland are connected to Tamei. The villagers from both sides of Barak River in Manipur and Nagaland are presently dependent on this vital road for accessibility to health and better market facilities in the nearby Tamei. These villagers were facing acute hardship due to the depleted condition of this road for a long time. There were many instances when they faced a pinch of poor road communication.

The locals have lost their beloved ones due to poor health facilities in these remote far flung villages. This single road is a lifeline to as many as 35 other villages in the area. In absence of good road connectivity all these villages have been fighting the same battle for having better access to education facilities, health and markets. The generation-next from these villages were unable to get quality education due to lack of infrastructure in the village. They were unable to get full benefits of various government schemes as the villages are only connected with Sub-div HQ with a single Tamei-Dikuiram road. Tamei-Dikhuiram road is vital for the far flung and inaccessible areas of Tamei sub division of Tamenglong district, Manipur.

It not only provides connectivity to Dikuiram village but also to Langparam, Taiparam, Katang, Magulong, Inem and several other villages. The importance of the link does not stop in Manipur but extends to the neighbouring state of Nagaland too. The road further connects to the town of Tenning in Peren District of Nagaland and further connects to the important city of Dimapur via district headquarter Peren and Jaluki. Hence the road provides an alternate connectivity to the Tamenglong-Dimapur link.

HOW IT WAS BUILT

In these tiring times of Covid-19 restrictions, came a new ray of hope for the remote rural areas of Tamei subdivision in Tamenglong. 44 Assam Rifles extended their support to repair the vital Tamei-Dikhuiram road which connects many far flung villages both in Manipur and Nagaland. In absence of any government assistance to repair this depleted road connecting as many as 35 villages in hinterland, 44 Assam Rifles under the aegis of 22 Sect Assam Rifles(AR)/ Inspector General Assam Rifles(IGAR)—EAST took the initiative & started repairing the link road by employing manpower and machinery. The road had pit holes, water logging, bamboo bushes falling on the road with a collapsed drainage system. The late monsoon rains too were hindering the smooth repair works to progress. The prevailing security situation in the area further precluded these jawans to work with proper security gear under security cover. All these odds didn’t deter these determined human hands to bring a social change in the area.

PARTICIPATION OF LOCALS

Taking motivation from the initiative of 44 Assam Rifles, the locals especially youth from Dikhuiram village also pledged to toil in the sunlight. Leaving behind their farm work and household chores, locals joined hands with Assam Rifles to change the fate of many more villages in the hinterland. It was a dream to achieve self reliance and contribute something constructive to the society which motivated the youth to share the load along with the jawans. The zeal of giving a better future to the next generation kept them motivated to pursue their dreams. The repair work had started on 12 October 2020 and got completed on 4 January 2021. Working against all odds, it took 85 days to complete the repair work of the 22 km stretch of the road. The repair work has come as a New Year gift for the villagers as now they will have access to better education, health, employment, government developmental schemes and markets for self reliance opportunities.

THE ROAD-OPENING PARTY

The road was inaugurated and dedicated to the locals of the area on 9 February by IGAR (EAST) in presence of a huge crowd from nearby villages. Speaking on the occasion he asserted people to be self sustained, acquire professional skills and contribute constructively in the nation development. While addressing the crowd the IGAR(E) sought cooperation from the villagers so that the SF and civil population can move synchronously towards development of society. He stressed upon the importance of roads with the point that roads act as a gateway to development and prosperity. Proper roads are precursor to infrastructure development, boom in business, better education, rise in employment and ultimately better standard of living. He insisted upon getting better education and pay back to society. Being the future of the nation, the youth has greater responsibilities but at the same time have an ocean of opportunities. He also pressed upon the importance of learning two prominent languages of the nation Hindi & English, which will equip them to face the society effectively & efficiently. He finally asked for cooperation of the locals with the SF and the civil governing bodies so that the insurgent activities can be curbed and the government resources can be utilised for what they are meant for without any scope for corruption.

Speaking on the occasion the Commandant of the Tamenglong Assam Rifles battalion thanked the locals especially the youth and women folk who fighting all odds kept working selflessly to unbind a new era of development in the area. This project is a true example of self reliance and sustainability through bhagidari by all the stakeholders. The active participation by the people has been honoured by naming it as the People’s Effort Road. This road shall not only connect places but shall connect hearts in the Liangmai tribal areas on both sides of the Barak river. With better repaired roads the villages shall have better and faster link to Dimapur market through Nagaland. He asserted the importance of being united in all efforts. He also called upon the youth to constructively and progressively contribute towards nation building and development. This singular example of people participation with security personnel shall usher a new era of friendship and trust between the two. Many other far flung areas can take a lesson or two from this people’s effort road. It has not only brought people together but brought them closer to security personnel in the area.

As the road was dedicated to the spirit and grit of the locals the enthusiastic villagers sang songs and danced to express their happiness over what they have achieved together with security forces in the area. These achievers were felicitated by the Assam Rifles further strengthening the bond of friendship with the locals. The locals along with Assam Rifles have written a new story of self-reliance as professed by the Prime Minister. Certainly the synergised efforts of Assam Rifles and locals have shown a light of hope to the villagers in the present trying situation of Covid-19 pandemic. The vibrant picturesque beauty of villages on either side of Barak river in Manipur and Nagaland has been added with another feather. This repaired road shall bring the happiness, smile and warmth back on people’s faces. This is what makes this area so vibrant and picturesque. The story of achieving the dreams of a better and improved road connectivity is incomplete without the narrative of locals together joining hands with security forces in achieving this rare feat. The energy of the youth if channelised properly can rewrite the self reliance and self sustainable dream of a society. This is Naya Bharat where you yourself plan, execute and contribute towards development and nation-building. The Assam Rifles in the area has ushered new developmental avenues for the locals by repairing this vital road. The government agencies can reach these villages more conveniently. The villagers too could be benefited from various social welfare schemes of the government. Indeed the People’s road is not only a road repaired by meagre resources but, it reflects the humane grit, will power and energy to succeed against all odds.

THE ROAD AHEAD

The repaired road has given hope and opened a spectrum of opportunity for students of these far flung villages around Dikhuiram to avail better education facilities at Sub-division HQ Tamei. The charm on the faces of the students from the area and satisfaction in the eyes of parents is evident as they can see the bright future for their wards. Also the better connectivity shall definitely encourage tourists to visit and enjoy the scenic beauty of quite a serene place. The place has ample to offer for an adventurous experience on the banks of Barak River. With tourists visiting Dikhuiram, it shall open better avenues for the locals to generate a handsome income.

An occasional traveller Shabnam who came from Hyderabad for some social work in the area upon seeing the depleted condition of the road felt pity for the people who for no faults of their are being deprived of their basic right of living a dignified life. However, when she saw that 44 Assam Rifles had empathised with the trouble which villagers were experiencing in their routine life and employed its resources and manpower to repair the road, she felt ecstatic and conveyed her thanks and best wishes to Assam Rifles. Another traveller who hails from Tamenglong and was riding on his motorcycle to New Magulong village to visit his friend got surprised to see the coordination, zeal and determination with which the Assam Rifles and locals were working together. He voluntarily gave his precious three hours and assisted the team working for a noble cause.

The news of joint effort of Assam Rifles and locals has spread in the whole district, motivating other villages to take such initiative in their respective areas for self-reliance and ushering development there. This team effort has made a note and shall be written in golden words in the history of development of Tamenglong district.

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