Citizen Kanes of Hyderabad plant potholes to shame civic officials

Pothole Plantation Challenge in Pragathi Nagar locality of Hyderabad.

Pothole Plantation Challenge in Pragathi Nagar locality of Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


'Pothole Plantation Challenge’ by citizen-activist goes viral in Hyderabad

Vexed with long stretches of bad roads, residents of city’s peripheral municipalities have come up with an innovative ‘Pothole Plantation Challenge’ which is gaining traction on social media.

Imitating the ‘Green India Challenge’ by government representatives/ functionaries and celebrities to increase the green cover, citizens have begun to plant potholes on roads to in a bid to draw attention to their travails.

The change-maker

The initiative is the brain child of Mamidala Prashanth, a software employee and citizen activist who stays in Boduppal, a suburb. “The entire road stretch here has turned from bad to worse. But no one paid heed despite our several complaints. The locality is home to four to five big schools, and 2,000 to 3,000 students regularly traverse the road. Official apathy is putting their lives in peril,” Mr. Mamidala said.

Working with Helping Hands Humanity, an NGO, the change-seeker keeps bags of BT (Bitumen) in his car to instantly repair any pothole he notices on the roads.

“But here, the entire stretch was so bad, it needed a bigger initiative,” he said.

Inspired by ‘Moon walking’ videos

The trigger was videos simulating ‘moon-walking’ on Bengaluru city’s crater-like road surface that went viral sometime ago. This had inspired Mr. Mamidala and a few others to go for the ‘Pothole Plantation Challenge’.

They collected pruned tree branches and began to plant them in potholes at Boduppal. The result was instantaneous. The road was repaired overnight, and officials from the Boduppal Municipal Corporation sought a month’s time to re-lay the entire stretch.

Me-toos join in

Encouraged by the result, residents of Pragathi Nagar area, which falls into Nizampet Municipal Corporation have taken up the challenge. Here, the roads have been heavily damaged following Mission Bhageeratha pipeline laying works for supplying drinking water.

“We complained endlessly, but there is no response from either the officials or public representatives. They kept saying the roads cannot be repaired till the works are finished. But the works have been on for the last one year, and might take longer for completion. The situation is so bad, even foliage of the avenue trees has turned grey due to dust,” Bellam Srinivas, another citizen-activist who spearheaded the challenge in Pragathi Nagar said.

Taking the challenge forward

Apart from planting the potholes, residents of Pragathi Nagar also distributed certificates of skilful driving to commuters and distributed flowers. Messrs. Bellam and Mamidala have vowed to continue the challenge in other localities too till the authorities listen.

“We are tagging MP Santhosh Kumar who is vigorously pushing for ‘Green India Challenge’ to every Twitter post about our own challenge, hoping to gain some attention,” Mr. Mamidala says.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 8:17:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/citizen-kanes-plant-potholes-to-shame-civic-officials-to-wake-up-and-act/article30147167.ece

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