NEW DELHI: An elated 15-year-old Robin Singh and his mother could not believe their eyes when they shook hands and posed for shutterbugs with the President, Ms Pratibha Patil at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here today.
The function was held to award the winners of a logo design competition of the Rashtrapati Bhavan's green initiative 'Roshni' on World Environment Day.
President Patil adjudged the drawing of Robin Singh, a student of Kendrya Vidyalaya BSF school in North Kashmir's Bandipore district, a winner among 3,276 entries.
Robin Singh, who originally hails from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, was awarded the first prize comprising a certificate and Rs 10,000 in cash.
Nine-year-old Vibhu Prakash, a class 4 student of Air Force School, Panchavati, Delhi Cantonment, received the Special Encouragement Prize comprising a certificate and Rs 5,000 in cash.
‘Roshni’ is a green innovation concept encompassing environment management and empowerment of local communities to create eco-friendly sustainable urban habitats through participation of stakeholders and convergence of partnership programmes.
It was initiated by the President on July 25, 2008 and the programme aims to make the President's Estate a green, energy efficient and zero waste model township for all other habitats across India.
"I am very happy today to receive this award and especially from the Hon'ble President. I had a belief in me and by the grace of god and my teachers, my logo was selected", Robin Singh said after receiving the prize.
Asked about the inspiration behind his drawing, depicting a house and a tree, Singh said: "I have always cared about the environment and we all need to protect the environment. If everyone plants a tree around their house, then it would help a lot. That is the idea behind my design". His mother, Ms Manoj Devi, could not control her happiness. "It is for the first time that I have seen the President so close. It is a dream come true. I feel proud today of what my son has achieved and it is because of him and his teachers that we are here", she said.
Singh's art teacher Ravi Kant, whom he describes as an inspiration, said that Singh is the best student in the class and today he feels that he has received his "guru dakshina". Prakash, who was surprised at his selection, thanked his parents and teachers for his success.
"I will give some part of the cash to my grandparents and will use the rest as my pocket money", he said.
Meanwhile, a group of 30 students from Kandi Bowl in Kupwara District of Jammu and Kashmir met the President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan today. The children are currently in New Delhi as part of the army's Operation Sadbhavana, conducted by the 47 Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles.
The students are from isolated rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir and many of them have come out of the Valley for first time.
The tour aims to enlighten students and teachers about the people and cultures of the country. The students will visit Delhi, Dehradun and Mussoorie over a period of 10 days.
Speaking to the students and teachers, the President said the country loves the people from the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
"All Indians have regard and respect for people from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. I wish you well and hope that the visit would spread goodwill", the President said. She urged them to place the nation first in all the activities that they undertake and to spread understanding amongst citizens.