Mr. Gangadhar Tilak Katnam was born in a farmer’s family in Yernaduem village a in the west Godawari District. 70-year old Gangadhar is a retired engineer and made filling potholes his mission since 2010.
He is a retired engineer from South Center Railways (SCR) approx. 10 years back. He has made his mission to fill potholes from the year 2010 and filled over 1300 potholes across the city.
Normally people celebrated Diwali with their shopping and lights, but Mr. Gangadhar celebrate their Diwali by filling a pothole. He is the kind of person who not only devotes his time, but also spend his pension’s portion to secure roads.
During his job he had got the idea for his next initiative named ‘Shramadaan’, or ‘offering physical help’ which was grown and took root.
He shared the incident behind the idea of filling potholes. He said- I was driving to my first day of office when I ended up splashing dirty muddy water on school going children after my car fell into a pothole on the road. Then a few more accidents followed at various places.
He exchanged some words with The Times of India, his words-
I celebrated Diwali by filling a pothole. Initially I used to pick up gravel from the roadside when a new road was being laid. Subsequently, I was not able to find any. I then requested contractors to at least sell me some gravel.
Whenever he faced any accident, he kept asking the police that the accident could have been avoided if the potholes was fixed but they never talk his argument seriously. This incident also triggered him to take the thing into his own hands.
He witnessed an accident. It was a near Langar House in the old city area and he had already. The next day An RTC bus knocked an auto, crushing one person to death immediately. It was a horrible what he saw and realized that this accident could be avoided if someone had filled the pothole after the previous one. One life could have been saved.
At that movement he decided to do that by himself. After one and half years, he started, he used to skip lunch to fill potholes during his lunch break.
At next step, he got retirement and spend his pension money on fixing Road Potholes. He disclosed that her wife was upset to see his work in the hot sun and called their son to talk to him from US.
But when the son saw his father’s zeal and determination, he decided to help him and created a website and Facebook page for him.
That was the time of origin of Shramadaan. It was a voluntary initiative where the students and people meet and repair potholes.
Mr. Gangadhar’s son contacted the Greater Hyderabad Municipal corporation (GHMC) and told them about his father’s work. They assured Mr. Gangadhar to fix the roads, but he refused to leave and GHMC joined hands with him.
Mr. Gangadhar inspired to many. His work has been discussed in various countries at a seminar on road safety.