A 48-year-old vegetable vendor and father is on a mission to cover all the potholes he finds on the busy streets of Mumbai, India to prevent other people from meeting the same tragic fate as his son.
Dadarao Bilhore has been featured in many news articles throughout India for doing his part to prevent other people from losing their loved ones in road accidents caused by the shoddy roads of Mumbai, according to AFP via South China Morning Post.
It all started as a way to deal with his grief after his 16-year-old son, Prakash Bilhore, died in a road accident in July 2015 during the city’s summer monsoon.
Prakash was with his cousin while riding a motorcycle at the time of the accident in the densely populated city of Mumbai, which is home to more than 20 million people.
The motorbike suddenly hit a deep pothole on the road and sent both of them flying.
Prakash’s cousin, who was the only one wearing a helmet, only suffered minor injuries while Prakash suffered fatal brain damage.
“Prakash’s sudden death left a huge void in our lives. I do this work to remember and honor him,” Dadarao said. “I also don’t want anyone else to lose a loved one like we have.”
Dadarao has managed to fill 585 potholes using sand and gravel collected from building sites in India’s financial and Bollywood capital since he started the mission three years ago, but he did not do it all himself.
According to the man, he filled other potholes with the help of volunteers who were inspired by his story.
Dadarao’s actions have also won him several awards and earned him the nickname “pothole dada,” an affectionate term used to refer to respected men in India.
“Recognition of our work has given me strength to deal with the pain and wherever I go I feel Prakash is standing with me,” he said. “As long as I am alive and can walk I will get rid of all of these potholes.”
The road potholes have reportedly claimed 3,597 people’s lives with an average of 10 per day last year alone.
More than 27,000 potholes caused by heavy rains during the summer monsoon have been reported by citizens on mumbaipotholes.com.
But despite the concerning number of deaths, the local government still fails to maintain the roads properly to prevent future accidents.
Activists have accused contractors of doing below subpar work on the roads so that they can come back next year to continue working on it.
“The government needs to take responsibility and create better infrastructure,” the man said.
Images via YouTube / AJ+