Taking the road less travelled

Sixty-four year-old Bala Gangadhara Tilak collects unclaimed tar and gravel to fill potholes on roads

June 09, 2012 09:24 am | Updated July 12, 2016 01:28 am IST - HYDERABAD:

Bala Gangadhara Tilak repairing a damaged road in thecity. Photo: M. Subhash

Bala Gangadhara Tilak repairing a damaged road in thecity. Photo: M. Subhash

Katnam Bala Gangadhara Tilak, a retired employee, is a man on a mission.

Whenever he ventures out in his car, he is on the lookout for tar mixed gravel dumped on roadsides. One might wonder why a senior citizen is looking for a tar and gravel on the roads. Well, Mr. Tilak's mission is to collect the unclaimed tar and gravel and fill potholes elsewhere. Not confining himself to his locality, everyday he sweats it out to patch up almost every pothole on his way.

At 64, he prefers to spend most of his time in “shramadan” by repairing potholes on roads. Starting his day at nine in the morning, he travels along different routes and scouts for potholes. The moment, he spots one; he immediately stops his car and puts up two red flags to alert road users.

Using a crowbar, spade, broomsticks and tar mixed gravel, he then takes up the task of filling the pothole-riddled roads, even as passersby continue to watch him puzzled. Though not many lend a helping hand, he carries on regardless. “It gives me great satisfaction as my work prevents road accidents,” feels Tilak, a resident of Hydershakote near Rajendranagar.

After retiring as a senior section engineer from South Central Railway (SCR), Vijayawada, he got a designer engineer's job at Infotech Company, Manikonda. While going to office, he was a witness to few road accidents. “It's heart-rending to see a person losing precious life in the accident. Several youngsters were crushed to death under the wheels of heavy vehicles after their motorcycles skidded off the road due to a crater,” he says.

The Good Samaritan explains such situations do not allow him to concentrate on his job. “Such incidents drive me towards shramadan,” he explains. The retired employee has also addressed a letter to the Home Minister requesting permission for taking tar mixed gravel from roadsides. “I present the photocopies of the letter to the policemen when they try to check my car for carrying crowbar, spade and other material,” he says.

He spends over Rs.500 towards fuel expenses everyday. Impressed with Mr. Tilak's initiative, GHMC Commissioner M.T. Krishna Babu lauded him for contributing for the society's development.

He directed officials concerned to arrange a vehicle with required material to assist Mr. Tilak to take up patch up works effectively.

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