If you spot a pothole and dread its impact on motorists using that road, what do you do?
One option is to click a picture, ‘WhatsApp’ it to 814POTHOLE (the letters correspond with the numbers 7684653) and wait for ‘Pothole Raja’ to come to your rescue.
The special powers of this new superhero are to make the pothole a thing of the past in less than five days.
The initiative by Prathaap Bhimasena Rao has already drawn customers, including IT parks, large hospitals and some resident welfare associations (RWAs) who got tired of the multiple deadlines announced by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to rid the city of the menace.
‘Pothole Raja’ claims to have filled over 200 potholes in less than a year.
The brain behind the project, Mr. Rao, is a former pilot who shifted to corporate life after a crash. He started his ‘social enterprise’ after a stint as the global vice-president of a multinational.
Loss of lives
“Close friends and relatives have been impacted directly due to potholes. A friend, who was a doctor, died on her way to Vellore from Bengaluru on the highway two years ago. A team member of mine lost his limbs, while riding his Bullet, in a pothole-related accident,” he said, recalling the trigger for ‘Pothole Raja.’
He pointed out that Bengaluru’s poor road conditions and traffic issues were the topics of discussion everywhere he travelled. “The road infrastructure technology we use is at least 70 years old. I consulted engineering professors and did my own research to see what is being done in other countries. The hot asphalt that we are using is not cost effective for patchwork; it can be used only to lay roads,” he said.
This is when ‘Pothole Raja’ teamed up with a Bengaluru-based company to produce cold asphalt. According to Mr. Rao, the cold asphalt requires a person to fill the hole and run a car over it twice. “A 50 kg bag of this mix can be stored for 10 months,” he said.
The cost: about ₹2,500 for filling one sq.mt. up to 50 mm depth.
“In some cases, we put in our own money to fill potholes,” Mr. Rao said. He has no plans to work with the civic body.
But some of the people who have tried the new technology are unconvinced.
The member of an association of an IT park said, “Potholes are not a big problem within our campus, as we asphalt the roads every two years. We usually fill concrete if it is a small pothole. If it is a big one, we remove the concrete and asphalt the space. But we are not sure if the cold asphalt will take the wear and tear.”
BBMP’s pothole app
Even as private players have started pitching in to fill potholes, the BBMP is yet to open its pothole app to the public. BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said the app has been used by officials for a month.
“A lot of civil works have already started and filling up of potholes is also in the works. Work orders for relaying roads have been given for almost the full city. We will review the progress after 15 days,” he said.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Deepika K.C. / March 01st, 2017