Dadarao Bilhore, a vegetable vendor from Mumbai, India, is on a mission to fill up potholes across the city for one sole reason: to save lives.
According to India’s Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Mansuk Mandaviya, pothole accidents claimed the lives of 3,597 people and injured 25,000 across the country in 2017.
In 2015, a pothole was also responsible for killing Bilhore’s 16-year-old son, Prakash, then a promising student who was about to start college.
During the monsoon season in July 2015, Prakash was a pillion passenger on his cousin Ram’s motorbike when it crashed into a massive pothole 2 feet deep. The violent collision sent Prakash and Ram flying into the air.
Ram, wearing a helmet, survived with minor injuries on his chin and forehead, but unfortunately, Prakash wasn’t that lucky. Since Prakash wasn’t wearing a helmet, he sustained a fatal brain hemorrhage and died.
The Ample Missiion team spent the day with Pothole Dada, Mr. Dadaro Bilhore, an ex-Shoorveer! After his son met with an…
The pain of losing Prakash was overwhelming for Bilhore; he couldn’t believe his son was gone.
Bilhore remembered Prakash was shopping online for clothes he could wear to college just days before the accident.
“My son was intelligent and extremely hardworking. He did us proud by becoming the first one in the family to have studied in an English medium school,” Bilhore told The Indian Express.
In the throes of grief, Bilhore picked up his shovel and hit the road. He scoured the roads in Mumbai for potholes.
Then, one by one, Bilhore began filling up the potholes with sand and gravel. He silently prayed for his son while doing so.
“Prakash’s sudden death left a huge void in our lives. I do this work to remember and honor him,” Bilhore told AFP.
The work has given him the strength he needed to cope with the grief.
In his noble attempt to prevent another tragic pothole accident, Bilhore and other volunteers have smoothed nearly 600 potholes across Mumbai in the past three years.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Bilhore said, “I do this so that hopefully no one else suffers the pain I did.”
To seek justice, Bilhore has visited the police station numerous times; however, the officials at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the contractor were still not punished for their negligence.
“They are playing with people’s lives with that kind of shoddy work,” he said.
Bilhore has not received any monetary compensation from the city either.
“This battle is for my son and all those who have lost their dear ones, because of potholes. Soon, others too will realize and demand compensation. This will also compel authorities to take prompt and timely action,” he said.
As the government failed to do a good job in maintaining the roads, Bilhore, nicknamed “pothole dada” (or “pothole elder brother”), pledged to carry on filling up potholes for the rest of his life.
“As long as I am alive and can walk, I will get rid of all of these potholes,” Bilhore said.
Kudos to Bilhore for sacrificing his time to do this amazing work that is helping to save other people’s lives.
Watch the video below: