Pics: Nikhil Pai
Mangaluru, Nov 23: Doing the job of a traffic cop is hard enough, but here's one lady, a home guard stationed as traffic policewoman, who has gone way ahead in making roads safer for commuters by doing something that should actually have been done by the highway authority.
Meet Padmavathi, who was was spotted at Baikampady industrial area filling up potholes on the national highway all by herself, just to make the ride smoother for commuters.
Nikhil Pai, the founder of Mangaluru's sole food review group, played Good Samaritan to the lady cop by offering her water and a bottle of cold drink. He later uploaded a post on her work in Facebook.
Nikhil's post on Padmavathi's selfless deed went viral in no time, and within a couple of days, even garnered the attention of state and national online media. To grab the attention of Facebook readers, Nikhil said he 'bribed' the cop, going on to explain that Padmavathi was "busy filling the huge pothole at the national highway 66 all by herself, none to help her. This is actually the job of national highway engineers but this lady is fixing this because this particular pothole in front of the Baikampady industrial area was the major cause of traffic block as there is a u-urn there".
He goes on to add: "How did I bribe her? Well, the bribe word was used to grab (your) attention, (I) did appreciate her work and gave her water and soft drinks and also asked if she needed anything else."
A resident of Kodikere, Padmavathi is attached to the Mangaluru north traffic police, and has been a part of the Home Guards for a year now, and aspires to join the police forces or the Army. After her 10th, she did ITI course and then joined the Home Guards.
Speaking to daijiworld, Padmavathi said that the traffic department had requested the officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to fill the potholes on NH-66 several times, but they did not honour the requests. "The potholes have appeared mainly because of heavy vehicles that take a turn here. Two-wheelers especially face problems at night because of the potholes, and anything happens, it results in huge traffic jams.
"We requested the NHAI officials to fill the potholes several times, and finally, when they did not listen, we told them that unless the potholes were filled, we would not allow heavy vehicles on this stretch. The officials then sent workers with asphalt, but instead of filling the potholes, they just dumped the asphalt and left. So I took it upon myself to do the work," she said.
"The highways in many places like Kulur and others are full of potholes, and bike riders are at risk, especially at night. The NH officials should take the responsibility of filling the craters," she added.
Padmavathi has been presently shifted to supervise the traffic at Honnakatte.
Speaking to daijiworld, Nikhil said, "She deserves a mention and all respect for the work done, not because no one came to help her or it was someone else's job. No blame games. She deserves mention all for the attitude. She did not do this for a fake campaign or to pose for a photo, nor did she do it expecting somebody would post it online. It was just her attitude to make a difference that really moved me," he said.
Indeed, Padmavathi's concern for public safety is a lesson for all, and truly deserves appreciation. Here's hoping against hope that the authorities would take a cue from Padmavathi and wake up, and do their job in making our roads safer.