Hyderabad

Making bumpy rides smooth

Gangadhara Tilak Katnam

Gangadhara Tilak Katnam   | Photo Credit: arrangement

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67-year-old Bal Gangadhara Tilak, who has filled more than 1,200 potholes, feels there cannot be an overwhelming feeling than being engaged in the activity. As he goes about covering at least 30 potholes a month, Mr. Tilak feels there cannot be a more overwhelming feeling than deeply engaged in the activity.

Much before the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign began to trend online and offline, this elderly gentleman used to quietly move around the city armed with gloves, a broom, a crowbar and tar-mixed gravel to fill the ubiquitous potholes on city roads.

For K. Bal Gangadhara Tilak (67), who has filled more than 1,200 potholes in the last four years, its not just about pothole-free roads, but a right to life. Starting off as a lone crusader, this retired railway employee now has 250 full-time volunteers and hundreds others who wish to assist him. It all began in 2010, when a few back-to-back incidents left a deep impression on his mind. “I saw a live accident at Langar Houz when a biker tried to dodge a pothole and died in the process.

After two days, exactly at the same spot, an auto-rickshaw driver tried to avoid the pothole and rammed a RTC bus. Two persons were seriously injured in the accident. That moment I thought to myself that had somebody filled the pothole, many lives could have been saved. Within a few days, I came back and filled the pothole on that stretch and continued doing so across the city.”

He receives complaints regarding potholes from every nook and corner of the city. Actively engaged with the administration, he gets support in the form of 25 bags of readymade mix from the municipal authorities for continuing his activity. Mr. Tilak is also vocal when it comes to pointing out flaws and irregularities in the system.

“Do people know that on an average 25 trucks of load is used everyday to relay roads and cover potholes in the city? Sometimes, even 50 trucks are pressed into service. Then why is the condition of our roads so bad, especially the internal roads. The authorities need to take this issue seriously and check for any misuse.”

As he goes about covering at least 30 potholes a month, Mr. Tilak feels there cannot be a more overwhelming feeling than deeply engaged in the activity.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 11:37:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/making-bumpy-rides-smooth/article6580805.ece

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