Dadarao Bilhore – The Pothole Dada of Mumbai



Thousands of people in India lose their lives every day due to various road accidents. Some of these accidents are caused due to potholes. In July 2015, while Mumbai battled heavy rains, Dadarao’s 16-year-old son lost his life in a motorcycle accident on a severely damaged road. Within a month of his son’s demise, the grief-stricken father set to work fixing roads and saving lives. Read about his story.



Mumbai is one of the busiest cities in the world. Mumbai and its suburban areas have been facing road problems. A major problem on Indian roads is a mixture of traffic. For cities like Mumbai, the roads and highways are always packed with vehicles like cars, trucks, cycles, two-wheelers, etc. This not only increases the time of traffic and crowds but also pollution and road accidents. 

The city has struggled with potholes, missing manhole covers, and poor roads causing many accidents in the city. This situation worsens every monsoon. Every year, the Municipal Corporation fixes the roads before the monsoon season. However, come rains, the roads go back to its poor state again. 


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What Causes Potholes? 


Potholes begin forming when water seeps into cracks in the road. Fluctuating temperatures cause this water to freeze, melt, and evaporate. As the water expands and contracts, it widens the crack it seeped into. Eventually, what starts as a little crack turns into a big pothole. 

Pothole Accidents in India 


Potholes are a common occurrence on the roads of India. For those taking the driver’s test, the candidates have to learn to spot the potholes from afar and diverge to avoid them. Statistics reveal that 42.65% of the roads in India are unsafe. 

Most of these roads are not suitable for the use of vehicle traffic due to the number of potholes. Accidents due to potholes have become quite common. As per a report by the Guardian, almost 4,000 people died as a result of badly maintained roads in 2017. This is almost 10 Indians every day, and that’s extremely scary. 

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Those who try to avoid the potholes try to violently swerve their vehicle, at times hitting someone or something. Those who fail to spot it get plunged into the pothole, lose their balance, and end up injuring themselves. In certain cases, these injuries are fatal. 

Dadarao Bilhore – The Pothole Dada 

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Who is Dadarao Bilhore? 


Dadarao Bilhore is a Mumbai citizen and a vegetable vendor. He is also an activist who works towards fixing potholes on Mumbai roads. Dadarao’s life was turned upside down when his 16-year-old son had lost his life in a bike accident. Prakash Bilhore (Dadarao’s son), a promising student, had just cleared his SSC exams. 

On July 28, 2015, Prakash along with his cousin were on their way home when they met with an accident in Mumbai. The bike fell into a deep pothole on the rainwater-clogged Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), sending them both flying through the air. Prakash, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, suffered fatal brain damage. On the other hand, his cousin, who was wearing a helmet, walked away with minor injuries. 

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Dadarao was shattered by the death of his only son. The family approached the police to register a complaint against the BMC’s Roads Department officials. A case was registered by the Mumbai police under the Indian Penal Code sections 304 A (causing death due to negligence) and section 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life). As per the police report, the pothole was dug up for some construction work and no barricades or signs were placed as a warning at the site.

Taking Matters into His Own Hands 


Dadarao visited various officials to bring the issue of potholes to light. Noticing that very little efforts were being made to tackle the issue, Dadarao decided to take the matters into his own hands. Dadarao didn’t want any other family to lose any of their loved ones because of potholes. Along with his kit that included paver blocks, a trowel, and construction sand, Dadarao started filling up potholes on Mumbai roads. 

He started the mission of filling the potholes all by himself. Soon, he was joined by Prakash’s friends, other loved ones, and well-wishers. Inspired by his work, many onlookers also lend a helping hand to Dadarao in filling the potholes. He uses broken paver blocks and debris collected from construction sites to fill up the potholes. To date, Dadarao has filled up 1000’s of potholes in the country’s financial capital. 




Prakash Foundation 


In honor of his son, Dadarao set up an NGO called Prakash Foundation. Prakash Foundation is a non-profit organization working towards making the roads safe in every possible way for travel. They occasionally have fundraising activities to support the initiative. Dadarao also works closely with the makers of the Spothole, an app that helps people to report potholes any part of Mumbai to the Municipal Corporation. 

"I don't want people to face the same fate as my son, Prakash. I will keep working until India becomes pothole-free. Our nation has a huge population. If even one lakh people start filling potholes, India will become pothole-free. I am tired, but I will not stop." – Dadarao Bilhore to ANI. 

Dadarao has received many awards and recognition for his exemplary work. He has also given various awareness talks, including a TED talk, on his mission. 




An Inspiration to Millions 


Dadarao is an inspiration to millions of people around the globe. He decided to fight. He didn’t think twice before taking up the task of repairing the roads. Rather than waiting for a change, he brought the change himself. He works for a better cause every single day. 

Whether it’s the hot scorching sun or a rainy day, Dadarao is always there to fix potholes so that no other person loses their life. He started the initiative all alone, and it had now turned into an official NGO with volunteers. He has saved countless lives with his selfless act. 

How can you contribute to Dadarao’s initiative? 


Donate. 


Filling up potholes require many materials. You can donate money and help out Dadarao financially. Similarly, you may also contribute raw materials required to fill up the potholes. Check out the website to know more. 

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Volunteer. 


There are thousands of roads across the city and millions across the country. So many of these roads have potholes or are in a poor state. Dadarao often organizes pothole filling drives across Mumbai. You may volunteer and help out Dadarao in his mission. Check out the Facebook page to know about the next pothole filling drive. 


Dadarao Bilhore is an inspiration. And there are so many common citizens just like him who have been selflessly working for the safety of others.


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What inspired you the most about Pothole Dada? Have you come across any other similar stories? Share them in the comment section. 

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4 Comments

  1. Om shanti .peace for the soul. Also this man is doing amazing work

    And good that you are sharing their stories on blog

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is extremely commendable that a bereaved father instead of drowning in his sorrow takes up something so constructive and decides to do something like this. Such people are rare. And you have also explained how potholes get formed along with a bit of statistics about the number of people who die due to such accidents. An excellent post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know whether to be sad o happy after reading this. At one point I'm sad that the officials aren't doing anything and on the other happy that we have like him taking matter in his own hands.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hats off to Dadarao, he is doing such a noble service. This is a situation even in banaglore and we need more people like him but more than that government should wake up and do what they are responsible for.

    ReplyDelete

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