‘Road Doctor’ – An Inspiring Story of a Senior Couple!!

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Gangadhar Tilak Katnam. Have you ever heard this name? Well, he is a doctor, a unique doctor. Not a doctor whom you think. He along with his wife takes care of something different. Here is an account of the kind of service extended by Gangadhar Tilak Katnam.

Most of the Indian roads are dangerous. Road accidents play a major role in contributing to the number of death cases. Huge numbers of death take place due to road accidents. Statistics have come forward with a shocking report which has shown that road crashes have increased by 10% in the year 2021. In addition, the number of road accidents climbed by 10% from 347 in 2020 to 389 in 2021.

They aren’t built correctly and aren’t adequately maintained. Potholes are prominent and cause distress to the people. Though many travels on the same road which has potholes, no one takes a step to clear the hassle. During the monsoons, the situation gets even worse. These potholes get filled with muddy water and torment the travelers. However, a wonderful senior couple has stepped forward to serve society.

Many people complain that sufficient measures aren’t taken to get rid of these potholes. This couple has gone a step ahead of all the others. They have hit the roads and rectified the potholes. Gangadhar Tilak Katnam and Venkateshwari Katnam, a senior couple from Hyderabad have been working towards clearing these potholes. Indubitably, they have set couple goals for everyone by serving for the welfare of society.

Old couple in Hyderabad spends pension funds to fill potholes - ​Saving  lives | The Economic Times
Gangadhar Tilak Katnam & Venkateshwari Katnam

The couple’s mission to save the lives of people from road accidents has come into the limelight quite recently. However, on probing deeper into this inspiring story it has come to our knowledge that Venkateshwari Katnam, known as the ‘Road Doctor’, and Gangadhar Tilak Katnam, his wife have been doing this for 11 years. They use their car, which they call ‘Pothole Ambulance’ for this mission. The couple has used their pension for the selfless deed.

For approximately 35 years, Gangadhar Tilak served for the Indian Railways. Tilak moved to Hyderabad after his retirement to work as a software design engineer for a software firm. Since then, he’s been repairing potholes throughout the town. He abandoned his work as a software design engineer within a year because he was so determined to get the city’s roadways free of potholes, and has been committed to fixing the city’s potholes ever then.

In an interview, Tilak has said,

 “After witnessing several accidents on the roads because of potholes I decided to do something about the issue and to find a solution to it. Initially, I tried to complain about the issue with the police and the Municipality officials but none of it was of any use. That is when I have decided to fill these potholes by myself.”

In the 11 years, the couple has filled 2030 potholes and has spent Rs. 40 Lakhs for the same. For all the expenses they have used their pension. After a few years of performing the job on their own, the pair founded ‘Sramadhan,’ a non-profit organization where individuals donate willingly to help fill potholes.

Many of us face many struggles and in the worst scenarios even lose lives due to road accidents. Though we all talk rant about improper roads, we never take proper measures. We rely on government officials for getting our work done. Some of us file petitions and keep a track of the same. When the work is not done, we should extend our help to society in whichever way possible. And this story is truly an inspiration to give back something to society. They also remind us that age isn’t a hurdle to serving society. No matter whether it is small or big, help is a help!

Shreenithi KC

Creative Content Intern at Aapkilathi.