“Pothole Raja”: B’luru man’s initiative to make roads pothole free, safer

Team Udayavani, Nov 10, 2021, 9:51 AM IST

Source: Facebook

One of the major issues faced by motorists, especially in Bengaluru is potholes on the road. The potholes not only pose a risk to their safety but can also negatively impact their cars. While we often see people cribbing and complaining about how the administration is doing nothing to address the issue, a Bengaluru man seems to have taken things into his own hands to make the roads safer for others.

Prathap Bhimasena Rao, a Harvard University PhD candidate, determined to solve the problem rather than just complain about it. When friends pointed out the harsh reality that Bengaluru has the nicest climate but the worst roads, Prathap used to feel embarrassed. He used to worry how he might contribute back to the city while giving out community service tasks to his students. Things, on the other hand, took a bad turn seven years ago.

Prathap was devastated when a friend’s kid died while riding her bike into a pothole. “To me, Arundati was like a daughter.” She was cautious, and she wore a helmet, but she nevertheless met her demise. “Before I could fully comprehend this, I learned of another friend’s accident due to a pothole,” he told Humans of Bombay.

Prathap began his study and came to the startling conclusion that potholes claimed the lives of roughly 30 people every day. He was perplexed as to why the officials seemed unconcerned. He sought more information from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and discovered that there were methods for alerting citizens about potholes, but none for actually fixing them.

Soon after, Prathap created an app that allowed citizens to report potholes. He would go to the location after receiving the alert and repair it.

Despite his efforts to enlist the assistance of local officials, red tape and callousness proved to be major impediments to finding a solution. He resolved to do things his way this time and paid for the materials out of his own pocket.

Only after repairing a pothole for the first time did he realise how simple the procedure was. People on the road were so taken with the lone man mending potholes that they asked him to educate them as well. That day, the mishmash of strangers managed to mend 12 potholes in under an hour.

Encouraged by the outpouring of support, he made a pledge to himself that no one else would ever be involved in a pothole accident. He’s been fixing potholes every weekend since then.

Many people offered personal stories about how Prathap’s initiatives had impacted their lives. Prathap was also told by a man that his pregnant wife could now bike down a road because the potholes had been repaired. PotHoleRaja, a non-profit organisation founded by Prathap to address the pothole problem, has repaired over 8,300 potholes on roads.

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