Santosh Singh Negi, a maths teacher in a government college in Pauri, Uttarakhand, was lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his monthly radio show, Maan ki Baat, for his work towards water conservation.
After realising that the level of groundwater was falling rapidly in the Kotdwar area of Pauri district, Santosh began thinking of ways to retain water during monsoons. The principal of the government college gave him permission to dig holes in the playground on campus. He was then joined by some schoolchildren who assisted him in digging four-feet wide pits on the sides of the field to collect rainwater every season.
Santosh posted about this initiative on the MyGov portal, which was launched by the government with the aim of implementing programmes through participatory democracy. “Every citizen of the nation can take a message and learn from him. It would be great if we can conserve water in the villages and cities while enjoying the rains during monsoon,” the PM had said during Maan ki Baat. And recently, Santosh also met the PM at a function that was held to commemorate two years of the MyGov portal.
This is not the first time that the Uttarakhand-resident has gone out of his way to serve the society at large. In 2012, he received a bravery award called ‘Mind of Steel’ from the Godfrey Phillips foundation. This was after he sought information from Garhwal University under the RTI Act, to find what facilities were being provided to the students.
On finding out that students were not receiving appropriate facilities, he complained about the same to the government, which then allocated additional funds to the university.
Santosh was born with short and weak limbs but he has never let his disability come in the way of realising his dreams. His parents passed away when he was in Class 11. After this, he began taking coaching classes to earn some additional money so he could support his younger siblings. He is now a full-time lecturer and hopes to crack the civil services examination.
“Situations make or break you. I chose option two to be more successful,” he says.
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