Strive for iconic village

Pothashang News Service: Imphal, December 10, 2018: “I want to make my village a model village, I want to light it up like a flame so that it can illuminate all the villages in Manipur like lamps,” said Arunkumar Telem a man who is striving with his “Langei Village”, a unique rural development project being taken up at Nongpok Sanjembam Khunou in Imphal East district.

Arunkumar is the managing director of Langei International which is taking up the project.

The 43 years old man is providing way to livelihood to the villagers as per their skills engaging in the pilot project.

“We shall always strive and stand for a progressive future generation” is the slogan of the pilot project. “Together we can” is its motto.

The project was launched in January this year and implemented within 85days.

Nongpok Sanjembam Khunou is one of four localities of Nongpok Sanjembam which is just 15 km away from Imphal city. It has 135 households with a population of around 500.

According to Arunkumar Nongpok Sanjembam is one of the most deprived villages in Manipur even though it is near to the capital city. The womenfolk are highly skilled in Loin Loom weaving and making flattened rice. However the activities are dying due to change in technology among other factors. The skilled but illiterate women of the village are unemployed and economically ruined affecting the entire family with no employment alternatives. There are number of families without a house struggling to arrange a square meal. Social evils like alcoholism and domestic violence was rampant. Hopelessness and gloom stalked the village, he added.

He said he also faced the same fate like any other villagers.

He was the fifth of eight children in the family.  His determination has made him secure a degree. He won the best potato producer in a competition in 1994 when he was studying class XI. However the potato plantation failed as there were no traders willing to buy the products even at Rs 1.50 per kg. In search of a dignified, independent and self sufficient life he migrated to the capital city Imphal in 1997. After taking up all sorts of odd jobs and series of failures, he ultimately became a successful businessman.

He said his village was always in his heart. “When I returned back in village nothing had been changed. I realised of working with my village people, living with them and progressing with them, and so I venture into this project and I never think of living alone”, said Arun.

 “I want Manipur to become an economically independent state and for this I look forward to utilise the skilful hands for a prosperous Manipur” said Arun.

His Langei Village project includes a Loin Loom project for women empowerment, poultry farming in organic approach, drinking water supply, street lighting, CCTV surveillance system in the village, Langei Sports Academy, hygienic environment, etc.

Loin Loom is a traditional and unique form of weaving particularly women attires. The profession is dying and extinction will lead to irreparable losses to heritage and identity of Manipur people, said Arunkumar.

The loom station has 160 looms working by 200 skilled village women producing 35 Phanek Mapalnaiba (traditional women attire with specific designs and motifs) on daily basis.

“I can earn upto Rs 10, 000 per month. Now I don’t have problems in maintaining my kitchen and expenses for two children’s education. We feel as if God has sent him (Arunkumar) for us,” said H. Sumi Devi, a weaver. She appealed the people who remain idle to enjoy taking up available suitable job.

The weavers work during 6 am to 9 pm and they are paid weekly through e-banking.

At the poultry farms chicken (5000), ducks (5000) and Japanese Quail (5000) are reared. Both eggs and chicks are marketed. Chicks and ducklings are hatched by 22 incubators.

Three thousand chicks and 4, 000 duckling are produced every week. As the breeding grows number of fowl has grown up and so as the eggs. We take the surplus eggs for hatching outside our farm, said Arun.

In this section 30 male villagers are engaged.

“In the past I had no work after the seasonal paddy works. But after coming here I have job everyday and can get Rs 12, 000 per month, said N. Priyananda, a poultry keeper who also indulges in vegetable plantation at the farm site.

Health camps are regularly organised for the project members.

There are no holidays. Bandhs and blockades cannot affect as the employees are the local people, said Arunkumar.

Nongpok Sanjenbam is yet to get government water supply connections.  Langei RO (reverse osmosis) drinking water project has been established installing a 2000 litre/hour RO plant and make available drinking water to the villagers at free of cost.

The village streets are now illuminated with installation of 350 street light lamps.

A set of 32 CCTV cameras have been installed at strategic locations to monitor the entire village round the clock.

 A series of mikes, connected to Langei administrative office, are installed at strategic points to cooperate the CCTV cams in case of emergency.

Sanitation is an integral part of the project. It has provided biodegradable waste baskets made of cane and bamboo along the roads and lanes. Villagers clean the roads and lanes.

The village is free from open defection, claims Arunkumar.

 Saying that the project has achieved its primary goal of converting backward and neglected village to a model village in eight months, Arunkumar said he is looking forward to take up projects on homestay tourism, community school, cattle farm and organic vegetable farming among others.

If these projects are taken up the village population will not be enough to meet the required manpower. Hence there will be employment opportunity to the rest of the people in the state.

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