HYDERABAD: Travelling through Hyderabad roads can be quite an exhausting experience. With plenty of ditches and badly dug up roads obstructing your journey, it makes for a frustrating ride. Though we find it to be extremely inconvenient, we usually just show momentary irritation and carry on with our lives, without considering the larger implications they have on our lifestyle.
One person who has been thinking about the greater picture is Gangadhar Tilak Katnam. A 65-year-old retired railway employee, Gangadhar has been covering pot holes across the city for five years now.
Travelling in his four-wheeler with materials stacked inside the trunk, he covers hundreds of pits everyday along with a team of volunteers. However, his next ride is going to be special as he will be burying his 1000th pothole.
“I was driving to office when I bumped into a pot hole, splashing some water on a few school children and their parents in the process. I felt ashamed of myself. However, I didn’t do anything about it then,” he says.
It was when he witnessed an accident that killed a motorcyclist trying to avert a pothole, that he decided to take matters into his own hands.
“Construction work was under process on the opposite side of the road. I picked up material from there and filled that particular hole on the road towards Langer house. Passersby just stared at me, surprised,” he shares.
He then began to stack empty gunny bags in his car trunk and collect materials that were left abandoned, using them to fill the ditches on his way. “In extreme cases, people meet with accidents. However, a lot of the others suffer minor issues like spondylosis and other back related problems and are forced to spend a lot of money for treatment. I can donate money to the families of this victims but I feel that this is a much better solution, since money is only a temporary fix,” he explains.
After planting a board that reads ‘Shramadan’ in Telugu, Hindi and English and red flags to alert passersby that work is in progress, he gets on with his job.
A resident of Hydershakote near Rajendranagar, Gangadhar has successfully managed to cover ditches around this area with a number of volunteers. Having been in the business for a long time, he can now estimate the required amount of materials by just looking at the holes.
“These days I get calls from people from as far as Dilshukhnagar who want to find out how much material is required and where they can procure it,” he adds with a smile.
Social media has also played a major role in making his job easier. “Initially my family didn’t approve of me leaving my job to do this. They dismissed it as being silly. But after noticing the things that I do, my son understood the deeper cause and created a Facebook page. He now shoulders the responsibility of passing on the message via social media,” he informs, proudly.
With an aim to promote this initiative and make Hyderabad a model city, he urges people to join hands.
People willing to extend their support can join him on Sunday, May 31 at Ramadevi Nagar, Langer house from 10 am onwards and contact him on 97030 04012.
Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/shramadaan
Website : http://www.shramadaan.org/
News Source : newindianexpress.com