Tamenglong district hit the headlines about a decade back when its young and dynamic Deputy Commissioner Armstrong Pame had built a whopping 100-km road with the help of people without funds from the government.
As development takes a snail’s pace there, Tamenglong incorporates into the list of the most backward districts of the country as reports of people carrying sick people through the jungles on foot to hospitals, lack of government infrastructures, etc. from the district are still pouring in.
The arrested development consistently prompted a battery of civil bodies to raise voices for uplifting the district in tandem with others. After Pame, many deputy commissioners, who were posted in Tamenglong, too extended their utmost efforts to grow the district in all spheres.
Amid the people’s yearning for progress, Dr L Angshim Dangshawa (31), a young IAS officer joined Tamenglong as its new DC a few months back, and soon after his joining, he spawned new ideas to shape up the district and executed one of them towards education and public hygiene front which fetched good results.
On September 15, under his initiatives, five mini “Street Libraries” were set up at different garbage dumping sites after cleansing the trash at Tamenglong town at the district headquarters about 145 Km from Imphal.
The library is a small bookshelf measuring about a little over 2-feet in breadth and about three feet in length, and it stands without lock in different colour shades at five locations – TBC Junction, Old Market, Rani Gaidinliu Market, Medical Gate and Bethel Church Road Junction- at the town. Inspiring quotes are also written on the shelves as one of them reads “The reader does not steal and the thief does not read.”
According to Dangshawa, a Maring Naga tribe from Manipur’s Tengnoupal district, the small project has been taken up to instil the minds of young children to learn, maintain discipline and sincerity as well as the general public to keep the town neat and clean at town.
The DC, along with his subordinate staff and the public cleansed the areas and set up the mini libraries. It was part of the ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ campaign under the theme, “Free Garbage India” which ended on October 2.
Though many schemes remained either dysfunctional or scrapped after smart beginning in the state, the mini library initiatives really worked as a team of journalists, who visited the district a few days back, found them functional with young students thronging them. No garbage was also found in the street library areas. People of the town on Wednesday also informed of the running of the library smoothly.
“Many people have donated books for the street libraries. So far, the libraries are functional with young children coming and taking books. In some cases, they have returned the books and, in some cases, they have not returned. Some students have also put new books by themselves,” the young IAS officer said.
“Let’s wait and see for some more time, we will get to know. I named the library ‘Garbage or Knowledge?’. This is just a message asking the people whether you choose the garbage or you choose the library,” added Dangshawa who completed his MBBS course from Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal East district in 2017.
Dangshawa, who was a sub-divisional magistrate at Paomata in Senapati district before his Tamenglong posting, continued that he has taken up some other new initiatives in the health and education sectors in the district which also yielded good results.
A standard-VIII student of Kendriya Vidyalaya Jaikanglung, who was searching books at one of the libraries said “This is my first time visiting this library. I have chosen a book to read and after reading I’ll return it.”
His friends who had been visiting the library frequently said they were very happy to have such a library here. Earlier there were full of garbage and now the area is clean, they said.
President of Rongmei Naga Students’ Organisation Manipur (RNSOM) Daichui Gangmei, while appreciating the deputy commissioner’s smart library initiative said “we want to say a big thank you to the DC for his smart steps taken up in the district.”
Stating that the initiative has given an impetus to the habit of reading books among people, particularly the students, Daichui urged all philanthropists of the district to donate more books to the street library.