Armstrong Pame

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Where there is a will, there is a way. Seeing the 100-km 'People's Road' in Tousem, a subdivision of the hill state, Manipur, it's difficult to not think of the age old adage.

28 year-old Armstrong Pame, the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Tousem and the first IAS officer from the Zeme tribe of Nagaland, single-handedly made possible a 100-km long motorable road without any state government aid. The road connects Tousem with the rest of Manipur, as also with Assam and Nagaland.

The 2009 batch IAS officer was moved when he saw how the villagers had to trudge for five hours by first crossing a river and then a stretch that can by no means be called a road to reach Tamenglong just 50 km away. The plight of the people inspired him to give them what they wanted the most. When turned down by the State Government for funds, Pame himself put Rs 5 lakhs and decided to raise more through Facebook. Raising Rs 40 lakh through the social network, he convinced local contractors to give him earth movers and road rollers for free. Enthused by the way Pame had been able to put together the resources, the residents of Tousem volunteered to build the road, thus saving labour costs.

Today, for the residents of Tousem, who fondly call him 'The Miracle Man', he's a harbinger of change and a source of joy and hope.