There's excitement building up in the principal's room of Apeejay School, located in New Delhi's Sheikh Sarai area.
A group of students (all boys) are enthusiastically sharing their vision with us, for what they promise will be, "a cleaner, greener, modern Delhi". They're not alone in this dream.
Bentley Systems, in association with the Ministry of Science and Technology, announced a programme involving 11th and 12th class students from eight Delhi-based public schools and technical institutes like School of Planning and Architecture, IIT-Delhi and Delhi School of Engineering to help in providing a new look to Delhi for Commonwealth Games 2010.
While Bentley Systems has been exclusively focussing on design and infrastructure in India for the past 10 years, it is for the first time ever that such a unique exercise has been involved with school- and college-going students.
"Future Cities 2020 is a very successful programme in the US and students as young as 12 years old have given some fascinating, futuristic designs," says Bhupinder Singh, managing director, Bentley Systems.
Started as an educational engineering programme, the event in the US was aimed at encouraging students to take up a career in engineering.
"The programme," says Singh, "has been altered in India to engage students to create real-world infrastructure designs that will address real-world challenges."
That's explains why students from Apeejay School, besides other schools, are taking out four hours every week to study the software especially provided by Bentley.
With this software they will help provide solutions to the problems that will need to be tackled during Commonwealth 2010.
"We are certainly looking at offering solutions to control traffic, beautifying the Yamuna area without posing any environmental hazards, providing adequate foliage while placing signages intelligently," offers a student who is working on the project.
Mohit Bradoo, programme manager, BE Careers, Bentley System, explains, "We have a fixed grid in our software that enables students to use this basic template to come up with their own designs. These designs could range from roads and bridges to a general public system."
Students will work with a mentor (read, professional engineers) especially selected by Bentley and after the first phase, the projects will be sent to IIT-Delhi, SPA, Delhi College of Engineering and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Institute of Technology for further refinement.
The entire exercise will be completed early next year when a jury from Bentley will select one unique project that the ministry will implement.
Students are busy testing the ground and viewing the existing drainage system. They will try and imagine this as a full-fledged Games Village with easy accessibility and roads and flyovers and, of course, a good public transport system.
"We are proud to be associated with a project that will give Delhi a facelift on Commonwealth 2010," says an Apeejay student.