Perhaps there is not a city in India that is alien to potholes. It is a prominent feature of most Indian roads, be it in a metro city or otherwise. Indians have mocked the authorities’ inability to ensure well-maintained roads, with a Bengaluru artist hilariously recreating the iconic moonwalk on potholes.
Although we are used to complaining about the terror of driving on pothole-ridden roads, we never really think further about it. But Prathap Bhimasena Rao, a PhD holder from Harvard University, decided to come up with a solution for the problem, rather than just crib about it.
Prathap used to feel ashamed when friends pointed out the hard truth of Bengaluru having the best climate and the worst roadways. While handing out community service assignments to students under him, he always used to wonder how to give back to the city. However, things took an ugly turn seven years ago.
Prathap was left gutted after a friend’s daughter died by falling into a pothole while riding a bike. “Arundati was like a daughter to me. She was careful, she had a helmet on, and yet she met this fate. Before I could completely come to terms with this, I heard about another friend injuring himself to a pothole,” he told Humans of Bombay.
Prathap started researching and came to the shocking conclusion that about 30 lives were lost daily to potholes. He was aghast as to why the authorities were so unperturbed by it. He contacted the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for more information and found that there were ways to alert citizens about potholes, but none to actually fix them.
Prathap developed an app soon after, which allowed citizens to report potholes. After receiving the alert, he would visit the place and mend it. Although he tried to take the help of local officials, red-tapism and callousness were huge roadblocks to the solution. He decided to do it his way again and imported the necessary materials with his own savings.
He realized that the technique was quite simple only when he fixed a pothole for the first time. In fact, People on the road were intrigued by the lone man fixing potholes and requested him to teach them, too. The motley group of strangers got around to fixing 12 potholes in just an hour that day.
Encouraged by the show of support, he made a promise to himself that nobody else would fall victim to a pothole accident in the future. From that point on, he has repaired potholes every weekend. People began to recognize him at junctions and traffic signals and some even volunteered with him. The masses backed him wholeheartedly and random passersby on the road rewarded him with grateful smiles and thumbs-up signs.
Many shared personal accounts of how Prathap’s efforts had brought a change in their lives. A man even told Prathap how his pregnant wife could now ride down a road after its potholes were fixed. PotHoleRaja, an NGO started by Prathap to resolve the pothole menace, has fixed over 8,300 crevices on roads.
The story has been extracted by: https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/bengalurus-pothole-raja-mission-fix-indian-roads-starts-ngo-4423880.html