What’s so great about it? Because it connects Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, and because it is crowd-funded by Indians all over. The Government of India has always ignored the North-Eastern region of India, so a road funded by Indians and NRIs is being created now.
I first came to know about this initiative by a random tweet pointing to this Times of India article talking about a Naga IAS officer Armstrong Pame building a 100km road without government help. Later, I read about his life story leading up to achieving the venerated position of an IAS officer.
I was surprised to read that funds were being raised via Facebook. I had a “Is this genuine?” question in my head, so I joined the “Tamenglong-Haflong Road Construction” Facebook group to learn more about it.
Stories about support and progress were pouring in the group which was really heartening to see great things being achieved by social media in the midst of all the anti-internet freedom and anti-citizen activities by the government of the day. For example, just today, Jeremiah Pame gave an update in the Facebook group that a Mr. Thomas Riamei, from a village called Saramram has given his bulldozer free for use of the construction of the road till completion, and a few days ago, Taranbir Singh, an IIT-graduate NRI based in New York donated 1.5 lakh rupees to the cause.
Last December, then Union home minister P Chidambaram visited Manipur and asked what happened to the road.
The state government declared that it would be ‘done soon’, but nothing moved on the ground. Then in June-July this 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.