After losing his 16-year-old son to a bike accident caused by an uncovered pothole, Dadarao Bilhore has set about covering Mumbai's unruly potholes.
The 46-year-old vegetable seller fills every pothole he sees with debris and paver-blocks collected from construction sites, and then proceeds to stamp over it to level the road so accidents are avoided. Over the last month, he has already plugged a dozen potholes, according to the Mumbai Mirror.
Bilhore’s son Prakash, who was riding pillion with his cousin Ram, succumbed to his injuries after their bike hit a pothole submerged under a few inches of water on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road. Prakash’s cousin survived the fall with a head injury, but Prakash was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
The road had been previously dug up by a private company for some construction work, but neither the company or the civic authorities had bothered levelling it after the work was complete. Bilhore registered a complaint six months ago but has not received justice: “It took the authorities five months to zero in on who was guilty, but they are now out on bail. Every second day, I call up the police station asking why the chargesheet has not been filed yet. They keep saying it will be done next week. It really makes you lose faith in the system,” said Bilhore in his interview, alleging that attempts were being made to delay the case, but he would not give up without a hefty compensation.
Even as the family tried to piece their lives together, Bilhore’s work has inspired the area residents to help him in his mission by handing over sacks for debris and paver-blocks to fill potholes.
A senior inspector’s statement in the report said that a BMC official and a TATA engineer had been arrested, but had filed for anticipatory bail and were let go. He also confirmed that a chargesheet would be filed later this week. Meanwhile, the municipal commissioner in charge of the roads said that action against the concerned engineer had been taken.
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