Gangadhara Tilak Katnam: A Railway Employee who Repairs Potholes with his Pension

Hello everyone!! You know what the problem of we Indians is, we are very good in complaining and blaming others for every problem that we see nearby us. We only wish to either complaint or talk about the problem while sipping tea, but nobody wants to take stand to solve the problem, to understand the reason of the problem, to remove the reasons of such problems. Whenever we see anything wrong surrounding us like inflation, corruption, reservation etc. We easily blame our politicians and bureaucrats. Is India only their country? Is there any duty of ours towards India? Naaahhh, if we will do something, then what will be the issue of our gossips.

Today Themedots is going to share with you a story of a guy who is on a mission, understood his duty towards his city, never blamed on any officials for this, and did everything whatever he could do. And the result is- he became an inspiration for all citizens, many people joined him in his noble cause to improve their city.

We are talking about Gangadhara Tilak Katnam, a 67-year-old retired railway employee who is on a selfless mission to repair the roads with potholes and make them safer for travelling.

Every morning, Katnam takes his Fiat car and searches for potholes in Hyderabad. Once he spots any such road, he fills it up on his own. The retired Railway employee has even exhausted his pension in the process. Gangadhara chose this tough job that other nationals only wish to either complain or talk while sipping tea. But he alone has filled over 1,125 potholes so far in two and half years.

Whenever he ventures out in his car, he is on the lookout for tar mixed gravel dumped on roadsides. One might wonder why a senior citizen is looking for a tar and gravel on the roads. Well, Mr. Tilak’s mission is to collect the unclaimed tar and gravel and fill potholes elsewhere. Not confining himself to his locality, every day he sweats it out to patch up almost every pothole on his way. Starting his day at nine in the morning, he travels along different routes and scouts for potholes. The moment, he spots one: he immediately stops his car and puts up two red flags to alert road users. Using a crowbar, spade, broomsticks and tar mixed gravel, he then takes up the task of filling the pothole-riddled roads, even as passers continue to watch him puzzled. Though not many lend a helping hand, he carries on regardless. “It gives me great satisfaction as my work prevents road accidents.” Feels Tilak, a resident of Hydershakote near Rajendranagar.


What made Katnam start this selfless mission is a small story. His car one day fell into a muddy pothole and all its water splashed onto few street children. He felt very embarrassed and immediately bought necessary material and filled the pothole. He became grievous towards this ‘repairing pothole’ initiative after witnessing few accidents caused by the potholes.

After retiring as a senior section engineer from South Central Railway (SCR), Vijaywada, he got a designer engineer’s job at Infotech Company, Manikonda. While going to the office, he was a witness to few road accidents. “It’s heart-rending to see a person losing precious life in the accident. Several youngsters were crushed to death under the wheels of heavy vehicles after their motorcycles skidded off the road due to a crater.” He says.

Since then, the boot space of his car always remains packed with eight to ten gunny sacks having tar of mixed gravel that he collects from roadsides. At times, he also purchases them from the contractors. Also, he spends Rs. 500 per day on fuel to check all roads of Hyderabad and make sure no pothole is left open.

He explains such situations do not allow him to concentrate on his job. “Such incidents drive me towards Shramadan.” He explains. The retired employee has also addressed a letter to the Home Minister requesting permission for taking tar mixed gravel from roadsides. He presents the photocopies of the letter to the policeman when they try to check his car for carrying crowbar, spade and other material.

For Gangadhara, this noble service is an addiction. Even when in service with an IT company, he used to leave office during lunch hours and repair a pothole. This gave him immense satisfaction.

Impressed with Mr. Tilak’s initiative, GHMC Commissioner M.T. Krishna Babu lauded him for contributing for the society’s development. He directed officials concerned to arrange a vehicle with required material to assist Mr. Tilak to take up patch up work effectively.

His sheer determination made him open a voluntary service named ‘Shramadaan’. Now, many Hyderabadi citizens have joined his voluntary service. All this elderly man wants now is the government to take serious initiative towards repairing of potholes.

Salute for this old man’s efforts and determination. Hats off.

A very optimistic and ambitious person. He likes to write blogs, articles and poems on current issues. He believes in the power of positive thinking- “whatever you think, you become”. Writing is his passion. He is very hard-working, dedicated person and dream chaser. His dreams are too big and want to do something different always.

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