Kerala

Taking bath in pothole to draw officials’ attention in Malappuram

U.A. Latheef, MLA, (in the middle) watches as Hamza Porali stages a protest in a pothole at Pandikkad on Sunday.

U.A. Latheef, MLA, (in the middle) watches as Hamza Porali stages a protest in a pothole at Pandikkad on Sunday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Two youngsters from Pandikkad in the district staged a unique protest against the pathetic road conditions by taking a bath in a pond-like pothole at East Pandikkad on Sunday.

Social workers Hamza Porali and Azhar Mohammed set out with a bucket, mug, soap, scrub and a bath towel to the road on Sunday morning. At first they were confused about selecting the deepest pothole as there were too many on the road connecting Pandikkad and Palakkad.

“We chose a medium pothole with a fairly good amount of water in it,” said Azhar. Hamza changed his robe and started bathing in the muddy water ponded in the pothole as passing motorists watched him in amusement. After the first round of his bath, Hamza changed his style of protest by adopting different yoga postures as his friend went on capturing it on his camera.

Hamza was standing on one leg with his hands raised skyward above his head when U.A. Latheef, MLA of Manjeri constituency, reached the spot. Latheef got out of his car and said “you should plant four or five banana trees in the pothole”.

By the time the MLA reached the spot, there were quite a few youngsters to support the protesters. One of them told the MLA to buck up and do something to address the misery of the people. However, the first reaction of Latheef was: “You should buck up, not me, and plant some banana trees in the potholes.”

However, Latheef later changed his statement while talking to a television channel and said he had seen people planting banana trees in potholes. He said he had brought the pathetic condition of the roads to the attention of Minister for Public Works P.A. Mohamed Riyas.

Hamza and Azhar said they wanted to seek the attention of the authorities. “The roads in and around Pandikkad, particularly Ootty Road and Perinthalmanna Road, are badly broken. Many people have suffered grievous injuries in accidents because of the potholes,” said Azhar.

He said the Pandikkad-Palakkad highway had been tarred four months ago, but was broken in the first month of the monsoon. He said something should be done on a war-footing to prevent accidents because of the potholes.

Hamza has done several one-man protests before. He had staged a lonely protest against petrol and diesel price increase sometime ago by carrying a speaker on his shoulders through Pandikkad town.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 1:47:20 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/taking-bath-in-pothole-to-draw-officials-attention/article65742087.ece