A Hyderabad-based politician has taken to social media to announce a unique 'potography' contest, urging citizens to take photographs of the 'best' potholes around their residence and mail it to him.
The campaign started by Marri Adithya Reddy asks residents to take a picture of any pothole under the limits of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org
That's not all. There is also a cash prize! The first prize gets Rs 5,000, while the second prize gets Rs 2,500. The photos have to be sent before September 10, 2017.
While Adithya is a Secretary of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), he insists that the campaign is apolitical.
Speaking to TNM, he says, "We didn't want to make it a political issue, because this is something that concerns citizens. We mainly wanted to create awareness on the matter."
Adithya narrates that his staffer’s husband recently fell into a pothole and was critically injured, which was the tipping point for him to launch the campaign.
Hyderabad witnessed heavy rainfall last week, clocking 114 mm on August 26 alone.
In a familiar sight that followed, the water washed away the city's roads, reminiscent of similar incidents that had occurred last year.
While the GHMC claims that it has addressed most of the 1,900 complaints of potholes that it received after the rains, the roads in many internal lanes are still in a pathetic state.
"Social media is a very effective tool to create awareness and put pressure on the government. The response has been good, and we have received close to 50 entries within 24 hours," Adithya says.
"We soon plan to send the photos and complaints to all the Zonal Commissioners of the GHMC and corporators across the city," he adds.
When asked about the condition of the roads themselves, Adithya emphasises on the need for a law.
"You have to have a legislation. As it stands today, the contractor is not legally liable for the roads he lays. Even when they are questioned, they just come up with excuses. You have to have a law that involves contractors and corporators, so that they are held accountable," he says.
As far as the cash prize goes, Adithya says "it is for real."
"We have an internal team that will assess and select the 'best' worst pothole, and we will hand over the cash prize," he explains.
Adithya says that he hopes for active citizen participation through this campaign.
"Hyderabadis are good at complaining, but not good at participating. So, either on a humorous or serious note, we want citizens to help us," he says.
He also hopes to take the campaign to schools, starting with Hyderabad Public School (HPS), where he is a member of the Board of Governors, HPS Society.
"We want to empower young people and make the next generation understand that change is possible through participation in the democratic process," he says.