In a busy world where people have no time to even look after themselves, a retired Railways official is a man on a mission as he is still caring about others’ lives. It is cognisance of the fact that there have been several accidents, deaths due to an increased count of potholes in our country. Though the road contractors and higher authorities are taking time to fix it, Gangadhara Tilak Katnam, who is the owner of a unique pothole ambulance has already filled as many as 1,302 potholes.
He knew that the city roads are not good. So, he decided to repair damaged roads all by himself. Tilak, a South Central Railway engineer, was a consultant at a software firm post-retirement.
“After working for the South Central Railway for 35 years, I retired in October 2008 and spend some time off in 2009, also travelling to the US to meet my son. In January 2010, I came back and settled down in Hydershakote in Hyderabad and took up a job as a consultant in a software agency,” says Tilak, talking about his starting days.
His future initiative started during his job with the software firm. According to a report by The News Minute, “I was driving to my first day of office when I ended up splashing dirty mud water on schoolgoing children after my car fell into a pothole on the road. Then a few more accidents followed at various places.”
Since 2010, Tilak made up his mind to fix the pothole single-handedly without any support from the government. His car is equipped with empty gunny bags, wherein he collects tar lumps from footpaths in a bid to fill potholes with. While plying his trade in the software firm, Tilak often skipped lunch so much so that he could fill the city’s potholes. This sums up the essential Tilak for you!
In an interview with The Times of India, Tilak said, “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.”
Despite his son speaking with the commissioner of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and his assurance that the higher authorities would take necessary steps to make the much-needed amends, Tilak didn’t relax as he went on to fix any pothole he could find. For doing social work after retirement, the road doctor doesn’t do this for money. He is not accepting any funds or donations for his work.
“I used to spend Rs 25,000 per month but after the GHMC started providing materials, I only spend around Rs 15,000 of my total Rs 20, 000 pension. My son takes care of my household financial needs,” Tilak adds.