THE Science Express Biodiversity Special – a train exhibition showcasing the exceptional biodiversity of India – was flagged off by ministers of Science and Technology, Environment and Forests and Railways, from New Delhi’s Safdarjung Railway Station. The train will cover 57 locations across the country over the next six and a half months. It is a flagship venture of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of Science and Technology and Indian Railways, first launched by the UPA government in 2012.
In the first two phases, the exhibition covered 114 stations and travelled more than 37,000 km. In the third and the last phase, it will cover a distance of 17,000-km, covering 57 locations across 20 states has been conceptualized with an aim to create consciousness and disseminate information on the rich biodiversity of India.
According to a statement issued by Prakash Javadekar, “The train was the brand ambassador of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity in Hyderabad in 2012 and it was stationed there to showcase India’s natural riches. The train had set quite a few records and milestones and it was perhaps the world’s most visited train exhibition. Within India, it had gone to the highest rail track possible for broad gauge, and also covered some extreme locations in the north, south, east and west.”
Close to 30 lakh students and visitors are expected to walk into this unique train over the next 194 days which will stop at 57 places before ending its journey on February 4, 2015, in Gandhinagar.
There are a total of 16 coaches of the SEB Special, out of which 8 are dedicated to highlighting the bio-geographical zones with the help of interactive exhibits, short films and videos. The remaining 8 coaches have exhibits on climate change, energy and water conservation apart form other sustainability issues.
The government also plans to roll out an aggressive Advertising Campaign to create awareness about the schedule and movements of this science on wheels experiment.
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, who was present at the event said, ”Through this initiative, the government wanted to touch the real India and provide a platform for showcasing the achievements of science and Indian railways, which extends logistical support to the Science Express”.
The current decade (2011-2020) has been declared as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and the United Nations Decade for Deserts and Fight against Desertification.