When Dadarao Bilhore's only son died in a road accident caused by a pothole, he decided to take matters into his own hand. Apart from filling potholes, he has created an app that invites people to report them.
On July 28, 2015, Dadarao Bilhore woke up to terrible news. His 16-year-old son had lost his life when he met with an accident because of a pothole on Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) in Mumbai. Shattered by the death of his only son, he took upon the onus to fill every pothole he could upon himself.
Prakash, Dadarao's son, died after his bike fell into a deep pothole on the rainwater-clogged Link Road. Despite repeated visits to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), he didn't see enough efforts being made to address the issue. So he got down to work with a kit that included paver blocks, a trowel, and construction sand. He is often joined by Prakash's friends and random strangers on the road who take note of what he is doing.
In a conversation with ANI, he said,
“I don't want people to face the same fate as my son, Prakash. I will keep working till India becomes pothole-free. Our nation has a huge population. If even one lakh people start filling potholes, India will become pothole-free. I am tired, but I will not stop.”
The 47-year-old has also created a mobile app called Spothole, which takes the help of fellow citizens to together locate potholes and resolve the issue. He added that most of the times they use mud, debris and paver blocks found at the construction sites. Speaking about the app to The Asian Age, he said,
“The app uses three basic features already available in a smartphone — mobile camera, GPS, and internet connection — and enables citizens to accomplish half the job by distributing power and much-needed responsibility to a crowd-sourced model. The first step to fix a pothole is to mark it. Spotholes helps you point out the pothole to the BMC who can then take cognisance of it.”
In the last one month only, after Mumbai faced severe rains, the city has recorded six deaths. Overall, the country has seen 3,600 people die due to potholes in 2017. Uttar Pradesh, however, tops the list with 987 deaths, says a report by Times Of India. According to a nation-wide survey, 10 people died due to potholes every day. Amid the apathy, the story of Dadarao Bilhore stands out as an example of how even one man can make a difference.