The Pothole/Potholes that Killed a Youth, Athish, an Engineering Student near Bikarnakatte in the City & Later Filled by NHAI have Reappeared Again to Kill More Motorists! Now a friend and Classmate of Athish, Likkith Rai has launched ‘Pothole Se Azadi’. Given that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Mangaluru in a little more than a week’s time, Rai’s campaign is clearly aimed at highlighting the apathetic attitude of the civic authorities and local elected representatives for the premier’s benefit. That’s What FRIENDS are For!
Mangaluru: No doubt that the potholes in the City are dangerous to lives, especially for two-wheeler riders, who could get seriously injured or lose lives. Recently there have been TWO INCIDENTS, where a youth riding a bike lost his life, and an MSc student of Mangalore University was seriously injured, both trying to avoid potholes. On Sunday, 7 August, a young scooter rider, in an attempt to avoid a pothole on the road, rammed his two-wheeler into a road divider and died – the incident took place near Kandettu Cross, Bikarnakatte on NH 73 around 6.45 am. Athish (20), a resident of Konchady, and an engineering student of St Joseph’s Engineering College, Vamanjoor, lost his life after he hit a pole on the divider.
L-R: ATHISH with LIKITH RAI
Athish seen in the back (black Shirt) with Final Year Engineering Students of SJEC, Vamanjoor
While Athish was heading home, he didn’t notice the pothole that was before the divider due to rainwater and trying to avoid it, he lost control and hit the divider. His head hit against the iron reflector pole that is installed between the divider, and the seriously injured Aathish was rushed to a hospital but he succumbed on the way. In another incident that took place a few days ago, a final-year MSc (environmental science) student from Mangalore University met with an accident when riding a two-wheeler, and attempting to avoid a pothole on the Netravati Bridge on National Highway-66, on the way to Mangalore University. The injured Nishmitha P S, 22, has undergone surgery, and doctors have told her that the plaster will be on for a minimum of two months, and it will require about six months to remove the rod that has been inserted in her hand. In that condition, she will not be able to answer the -NET exam, which is scheduled on August 11 and 12. What bad luck for an aspiring student who will not be able to attend the final-year semester examinations and UGC-NET exam. And just like these two young persons, chances are that many more youth and adults will risk their lives, riding on the pothole-ridden City streets and NHs. But does anyone in the district administration, MCC or NHAI care about the safety and lives of the motorists?
The pothole was filled by NHAI after the Accident
Later the death of this engineering graduate on a potholed national highway created social media outrage against the NHAI. Also, Likith Rai, a friend of Aathish, raised his voice during a protest in front of the Mangaluru City Corporation building, accusing the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) of their negligence in fixing the pothole-ridden city roads. Holding a placard in front of the Mangaluru City Corporation, demanding justice for his friend, Rai did his part in love for the friend he lost so dearly. He and several others posted accounts of the accident on their social media handles and condemned NHAI’s inaction.
Meanwhile, Linge Gowda, the project director of NHAI speaking to the media said: “There was no negligence by NHAI. There was a pothole due to heavy rain. On a fateful day, it was raining heavily and the victim was speeding. We have started filling all the potholes.” Gowda’s comments were total crap, trying to cover their negligence. Even though his men filled the potholes that killed a young budding engineer after the accident, and now a few days later we are seeing potholes reappearing again at the same spot, which will kill more two-wheeler riders. What shabby work just to fool the public. Filling the potholes with jelly stones or some loose stuff will not serve the purpose for a long time. As long as cheap quality tar is being used and layered too thinly, we will continue to see potholes over and over again.
Likhit’s fight did not end after his protest near the MCC building. To bring awareness and awaken the concerned authorities, this young Mangaluru-based entrepreneur Likhith Rai with a grief-laden heart has launched a campaign named ‘POTHOLE SE AZADI’ prior to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mangaluru on 2 September, where his campaign is clearly aimed at highlighting the apathetic attitude of the civic authorities and local elected representatives for the premier’s benefit. Meanwhile, on social media, citizens are appealing to PM Modi to travel from Bengaluru to Mangaluru by road, so he can see the pathetic condition of the Shiradi Ghat Road for himself.
Likhith has earnestly asked the citizens to click and send him the photographs of potholes before they are hastily covered by the authorities ahead of the PM’s visit. Speaking to Team Mangalorean he said, “What the authorities will do will amount to nothing more than patchwork, which is bound to wear off in under 10 days. They will undertake this work only in view of Modi’s pending visit to Mangaluru. The authorities failed to fix roads despite many accidents being reported. This time, we will be vigilant. We will closely monitor the work that will be undertaken on the city’s roads. We must do this and let the authorities fool us again. It does appear as if the PM’s visit is of greater importance to the authorities than the loss of innocent lives. I have taken this lead in the campaign aimed at preventing such tragedies”.
THE FILLED POTHOLES AFTER THE ACCIDENT & DEATH OF ATHISH HAVE REAPPEARED AGAIN.
“The death of my dear friend was due to the negligence of the authorities and yet it was recorded as an accident. Athish had plans to go for higher studies and was working in a company to gain experience, but tragedy struck and killed him. He completed his civil engineering from St Joseph Engineering College, Vamanjoor, recently. The results were days before the accident and he passed all the subjects with very good marks. My friend didn’t die in an accident. He was killed by the authorities responsible for bad roads in Mangaluru. He was a loving son, a helpful friend, a caring brother and a cheerful 21-year-old boy with a lot of dreams. He lost his life in the centre of the city just for not being extremely skilled at missing a deadly pothole in my smart city. I don’t want this to end like any other social media outrage. I lost one of mine today. Next could be one of yours if we remained silent”, added Likhith.
He further said, “When such fateful accidents take place, the authorities have their own silly reasons to cover up their negligence. But when the rain stops, they claim that they are facing a shortage of tar. The poor condition of the roads is directly responsible for at least five to ten accidents, every day. We have enough technical knowledge to understand that, if work is undertaken properly, the roads will last longer. I have already received from citizens of Mangaluru photographs of pothole-riddled roads. My fight to get the roads fixed would continue till the authorities took concrete action”.
Yet another supporter based in Dubai has also come out with a video which has gone viral on social media and has been receiving a good response. Mohammed Shafaqh, aka ‘Shafaq Indian’, a positive Content Creator has been bringing inspiring life stories of people in 3 minutes video, since he believes that in today’s era video is the superpower to inspire and bring a change in society. For the last two years, he has been travelling across India interviewing untold stories inspiring people, and also highlighting tragic stories, like the Athish tragic death. Shafaq says that in the last 90 days, his videos have reached more than 2 million people, and Dubai is the City of dreams which is making this possible.
The city crews or NHAI should take quick action to fix the potholes before they get deeper and worse — thereby avoiding severe driving hazards and vehicle damage. Without any delay, MCC should undertake a major exercise to refurbish City’s potholes.