Imphal, Feb. 17: Residents of Illeng village in Tamei sub-division of Manipur’s Tamenglong district have a reason to celebrate — a motorable road built under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
The celebrations started in the form of the silver jubilee year of Illeng Students’ Union on February 11 and villagers are planning to have bigger celebrations in the near future.
Illeng is a village of 130 houses along the Manipur-Nagaland border, about 40km from the sub-divisional headquarters of Tamei, one of the most backward regions in Manipur.
“For the first time, residents can see vehicles coming here and they are very happy,” Mainganglakvou, a member of Illeng Village Authority, said.
“For the first time, children could see army personnel and their vehicles coming to their village during the programme,” Mainganglakvou said.
Earlier, a road was up to Konphung, about 17km from Tamei. Under the scheme, the road was constructed for 23km, connecting Langlong and Illeng with Tamei.
Before completion of the road, villagers of Illeng and Langlong had to walk on foot on hilly terrain up to Konphung, to reach Tamei and beyond. Illeng has one government primary school and children have to go to Tamei or other parts of the state for further studies.
The commandant of the 9th Dogra Regiment, Col Dinesh, who attended the programme, urged the youths to write competitive examinations and join the armed forces.
Members of the village women’s society and students presented cultural programmes while village elders performed the traditional ritual of howling.
Wilubou Newmai, a social worker from Tamei, said the construction of the motorable road was completed in January. He said the silver jubilee celebration of the students union was more of a celebration of the road connectivity.
Newmai urged youths to become agents of social change and also protect the environment.
Though Illeng is in a remote corner, the people are well off because of agricultural activities as apart from paddy cultivation they also grow maize, ginger and seasonal vegetables. Hence, people are able to send their children outside the village and keep them in boarding houses for education. Villagers also hope more transport services would be available after completion of the road.