The first thing one notices on entering Rashtrapati Bhavan through Gate 35 are the "energy efficient" lamp posts. Welcome to the model eco-township inside the president's estate.
A year since it was implemented to make the Rashtrapati Bhavan a model urban township that cares for the environment, Roshni, as the project is called, has 13 projects in its ambit of which nine are implemented and the rest are still in process.
One can see vermicompost pits where women of self-help groups from inside the estate work tirelessly to produce manure, a rain water harvesting system, solar panels atop a building, a bio gas plant, a nature trail and a solid waste management system.
Amongst the various benefits is the amount of money saved which otherwise went on buying manure. According to Rashtrapati Bhavan officials, Rs 4-5 lakhs was earlier spent annually on buying manure that was not necessarily eco-friendly.
The vermicompost pits now save that much money.
To put the entire endeavour together, the President's Estate Residents Welfare Association was created to converge all the residents' efforts for Roshni's success.
The expertise of a number of institutes like Delhi University, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, environment department of the Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Council and the likes were taken for the project's implementation.
Among the projects in Roshni yet to be implemented is the sewage treatment plant which officials said will be functional in a year's time. IIT Delhi is helping in the implementing this.