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Hyundai Creta price in India, Hyundai Be The Better Guy, Hyundai -DellyRanks

Hyundai’s Be The Better Guy campaign is perfectly embodied by Prathap Rao, leading PotholeRaja on a mission to make roads safer through sustainability and innovation

On a sunny morning in one of Bengaluru’s many bylanes, a group of people wearing reflective vests are hard at work fixing the many potholes plaguing India’s Silicon Valley. Among the group, is Prathap Rao, leading by example as he fills a pothole whilst guiding the group through the entire process. “Potholes are one of the highest contributors to road accidents today” he says, and rightly so. Official data from The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways shows over 1,68,491 lives lost throughout India in 2022 due to traffic accidents. Of these, 1,856 fatalities occurred specifically due to potholes, painting a grim picture.

Which brings us to Prathap and PotholeRaja’s story. And it’s a story that ties perfectly into Hyundai’s Be The Better Guy initiative, of course! This campaign, as we know, is the brand’s stellar road safety awareness initiative that shares inspiring tales of people striving for safer roads in our country.

Waving at us, Prathap smiles, encouraging us to try our hand at fixing a pothole ourselves.

“I think we share a collective responsibility of making our roads a safer place.” He says as he observes the group of volunteers. “Big or small, every step counts. The important thing is to work hard and keep at it. I think that’s where the idea of PotholeRaja came about.”

Prathap, who’s no stranger to hard work, served in the Indian Air Force as a wing commander. He also holds two PhDs and is a guest faculty at the IIM Bengaluru. And yet, despite accomplishing so much, he felt like he needed to do more. “As someone who’s always been passionate about road safety, watching people suffer the consequences of bad roads affected me deeply. I felt like I needed to do something.”

The first step was to call upon the people responsible for our roads, but sadly, it was a painfully familiar story. “I tried reaching out to authorities, but it didn’t change much” he says, as we move on to the next pothole in the area. “That’s how I created PotholeRaja. We started off with a campaign asking people to send us pictures of potholes throughout the city via social media, which instantly became viral.”

Retracing the enterprise’s journey, Prathap shares how far PotholeRaja has come from then to now. “We’ve been at it for almost a decade now, and I think we’ve come a long way. Over the years, we’ve undertaken multiple projects not just in Bengaluru, but throughout the country, generating a positive impact on society through our work.” Prathap says with a smile on his face, as he leads us to a neat-looking stretch of road. As we find out, there’s a good explanation for it.

“We transformed this entire stretch of road, installing signals at the junctions, road signs, footpaths, and close circuit cameras as part of our ‘Model Road’ campaign. Not only that, we also installed a ‘scientific bump’ instead of regular speed bumps, which further enhances road safety”. Driving through this stretch perfectly illustrated PotholeRaja’s impact.

“For the footpaths and some stretches of the road, we used our patented Gridmats technology that’s completely made of recycled plastic.” Prathap says. “We offer a variety of Gridmats, each tailor-made for a specific application. Through this technology, we aim to make roads that require minimal repairs, enhancing sustainability and minimising the impact on the environment.”

Prathap seemed rather enthused when we asked about how he came up with the idea for Gridmats. “I’ve travelled around the world, and even lived abroad for many years. Road repairs overseas have come a long way, and use innovative techniques. But here at home, we’re still lagging behind with our archaic methods. Not only are they tedious, but traditional methods also generate a lot of pollutants. I figured we needed a lasting solution with minimal waste and researched about how we could use recycled plastic for our roads. After some trial and error, I came up with the Gridmats.”

With such a motivated individual like Prathap at the helm, it’s easy to see why PotholeRaja has been immensely successful with its stellar projects. At its core, is a sense of duty and responsibility. “It’s a part of our ethos, really,” Prathap says. “Ultimately, my team and I want to do good for our society and the environment. However, our work is just a small part of the bigger picture. Road safety is a collective initiative, and while the authorities do their part, we must also carry our own weight. Be it through volunteering with enterprises, or simply following traffic norms or wearing a helmet; everything is a small step towards achieving lasting goals.”

And when asked about what lies ahead, we could sense his beaming optimism. “There’s a lot of exciting things in store. We’re undertaking multiple projects and there’s a lot going on. The sky’s the limit and I feel like we’ve only just begun”. Hyundai’s Be The Better Guy initiative provides a voice for the stories of people like Prathap, who are making a real impact on road safety in India. And as Prathap and his team continue to advocate for safer roads, they’re truly inspiring us all to Be The Better Guy.

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