Katnam Bala Gangadhara Tilak: Meet ‘Pothole Man of India’ & His Journey Through ‘Shramadaan’

Katnam Bala Gangadhara Tilak Shramadaan-1

The safety of a human lies in his state of mind itself. The accidents, especially the roads and the highway accidents does not happen, they are caused due to human negligence and carelessness. Katnam Bala Gangadhara Tilak, a retired employee from Indian Railways, is on a mission to teach every human that whenever we see a mistake and don’t fix it up as soon as possible, it becomes our mistake.

After 35 years of excellent and disciplined service, in January 2010, he joined an Infotech company in Manikonda as a software design consultant. On his first day to work at InfoTech, driving his Fiat car, he was trying to be considerate and careful to the pedestrians as much as possible because road near his house is full of gaps/potholes. But he could not help regretting an unintentional and unavoidable splash of muddy water from one pothole on a little girl and her mother on their way to school.

Katnam Bala Gangadhara Tilak Shramadaan-1

Gangadhara Tilak didn’t rest easy after this incident as he thought of basic amenities being neglected for too long and too often. He ordered 6 truckloads of ‘Moram’ and paid the money for it from his own pocket. People often witness accidents on roads not due to carelessness or reckless driving, but the damaged roads causes’ life threatening mishaps and other problems like traffic delays and fuel wastage etc.

Be a whistle-blower when you see a pothole or a drain block !

In our already stressful lives, a damaged road makes us more restless. All this gave Tilak sleepless nights and diverted his focus towards solving pathetic road problems. On every weekend, he took his Fiat car and spent almost 500 Rupees of fuel daily and spotted potholes on his way and started filling them with a crowbar, spade and gravel/ tar mix. He wanted to provide a secured road to travel to every citizen.

Katnam Bala Gangadhara Tilak Shramadaan-1

The passersby watched this retired man’s efforts puzzled, while he filled potholes alone, with two red flags to alert the road users. In 2011, Tilak quit his job at InfoTech and made filling potholes his new job so that every citizen travels safely on the roads. He also wrote a letter to the Home Minister requesting for permission for taking tar mixed gravel from roadsides and with his initiative, the local government officials arranged for an additional vehicle with required material to assist Tilak to take up the cavity-filling task effectively.

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, ‘ Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’ Let’s all join hands and bring a revolutionary change in the bad state of our roads.

Visit shramadaan.org for more details. Connect with them on their Facebook page.

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