Potholes are one of the most severe hazards and public safety problems in India
Mumbai is one of the most populated places in the world where about 23 million people live. Monsoons are very heavy here, and the expose the negligent efforts of city workers and contractors, opening up dangerous craters and potholes which makes city commutation hazardous and severe.
Potholes are so common that a campaign is underway to have Mumbai featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the city with the most potholes.
Dadarao Bhilore has filled over 1000 potholes and has helped arouse social responsibility. His action has inspired many for a better cause.
Bilhore has been featured in many Indian newspaper articles and received various awards. He also earned the nickname "pothole dada," an affectionate term in India for an elder brother.
Please Watch this 2 mins video to get glimpses of his life journey.
Do read her full interview with Inspirational Beings team to know what all challenges he had to go through during his journey, how did he manage to overcome those challenges, his learnings and message to our readers.
Could you brief your family background?
I was born in an impoverished family; my both parents were road labors. I started working at a very young age. I distributed newspaper rounds. Later started selling vegetable in the neighborhood. After many years of hard work, our business stabilized. We live in a joint family with my parents and married siblings.
Please tell us about the sad incident with your son?
Prakash was my only son and was only 16 years old when he passed away in a road accident. He was very promising from his childhood; thus, we enrolled him in English medium school. He had cleared his high school and was returning after taking admission in a college. He met with an accident and died because of a pothole on Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) in Mumbai. That day It was raining heavily in Mumbai,
Prakash was on the back of a motorbike driven by his cousin. The street was clogged with rainwater & they drove over concealed giant pothole about 2 feet deep, it was a creator like a hole. The pothole was filled with water, and there was no way anyone could have spotted it.
The bike crashed to a halt, throwing the driver, Ram, several feet away, Prakash was thrown 10 feet and went unconscious. When he was brought to a hospital, doctors said he had suffered a brain hemorrhage and had died.
Tell us why you thought of starting the mission of filling potholes?
When I lost my son to a pothole, my entire family was shattered, and our life came to an end. At the same time, many repetitive cases of road accidents occurred, like the accident of mother-daughter in Mumbai Ambernath, where the mother died on the spot and a couple in Bandra where wife died after falling off the vehicle due to a pothole.
I was distressed to observe how authorities waited until someone died to fill potholes and file FIRs. I couldn't let any more people die like my son, and I decided to do it by myself. When I saw cars and motorists effortlessly passing over those mend pothole, I continue it, and thus, my mission started.
Tell us more about your work, and how do you execute?
When I started this work, I used to do it on my own, but later I was joined by Prakash's friends and random strangers on the road who take note of what I am doing.
We use sand and gravel collected from the unmanaged pothole sites of government. In the past four years, we have filled in over 1000 potholes across Mumbai with stones, gravel, and paver blocks.
We have started a new mobile application call 'Spothole' that helps people locate potholes. This app uses three essential features of the smartphone — mobile camera, GPS, and an internet connection — and enables the common public to point out the pothole to the BMC and us. We take cognizance of it and try to mend it or pursue with BMC to fill it.
Challenges in your work, and how did you overcome them?
There are more than 25000 reported potholes in Mumbai and filling those without the help of authorities is a prodigious task, need colossal money and workforce. Many times when we inform about the potholes in Mumbai, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) comes up with different excuses for not filling the potholes, and we have to keep following up continuously with them.
The BMC keeps digging several roads for laying has pipes, electric or water connections. But many times, these are not closed on time. I have been suggesting them to have a separate area allotted to lay these underground pipes and wires, so it doesn't cause inconvenience or life threat to citizens.
Many people who suffer injuries have to pay for medical expenses, and many times can't attend to their duties due to injuries. Government, BMc or bureaucrats do not take responsibility and many times blame riders.
I feel extremely helpless when I see economically lower class becomes the victim of pothole accidents and can’t pay for medication. The government needs to take responsibility and create better infrastructure.
What is your guidance message to our readers?
Our nation has a huge population. If even one lakh people start filling potholes, India will become pothole-free. Now many people have joined this mission and are helping to fill potholes and make roads safer. I urge all of you to do your bit so everyone can live safe.
Those who are willing to donate/contribute/help for our pothole free vision can contact me at +919869930772.