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Science Express chugs out of Delhi on bio-diversity mission

Science Express chugs out of Delhi on bio-diversity mission
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SEBS is all set to cover 17,000 kms across India, and chugged out of the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi on Monday afternoon after being flagged off by three ministers in the Narendra Modi cabinet. A cumulative effort by the three ministries – environment, forests and climate change, railway and science and technology minister – this train envisages a unique vision to create awareness amongst masses in general and youth in particular about the existing biodiversity.

This flagship venture was flagged off by environment, forests and climate change minister, Prakash Javadekar, along with railways minister DV Sadananda Gowda and science and technology minister Jitendra Singh. This is the third phase of SEBS which will be covering 57 locations in a span of 194 days benefiting nearly 30 lakh students. The journey will culminate on 4 February 2015 in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar.

Emphasising the need to popularise and create awareness about this train, Javadekar said that an advertising campaign would be initiated so as to sensitise and educate the masses on the nuances of the rich biodiversity of the country. ‘In order to take the issue associated with biodiversity forward, society needed to base its foundation on the rationale of scientific temper. It was important in the backdrop of India comprising 2.5 per cent of land mass on earth, 17 per cent of world population and yet being home to 8 per cent of world biodiversity,’ he said. He said that this was no ordinary train and it encapsulated a journey of learning, spreading the message of biodiversity conservation.

Railway minister Sadananda Gowda stated that this initiative was unique and innovative as it touched ‘real India’. Also science and technology minister Jitendra Singh said that this train provided a platform to showcase the achievements of science to the people. He added, ‘Science needed to be utilised for the larger picture of social transformation. It has to be used for optimum social progress and scientific transformation.’

Out of the SEBS’ 16 coaches, 8 are solely dedicated to showcasing the myriad biodiversity spread across all the bio-geographical zones of India through a variety of interactive exhibits, short films & videos that are shown on varied TV screens, large format displays, kiosks and back lit panels. The remaining coaches have interesting and informative exhibits on climate change, energy and water conservation and other topical issues.

Since its launch in 2012, this train has covered 114 stations and travelled across more than 37,000 kms in the first two phases. Phase-I of the SEBS was launched on World Environment Day (5 June, 2012). Phase-II of the SEBS was launched on 9 April, 2013 and it covered 62 locations and over 22 lakh people, including 5 lakh students and 29000 teachers from 6005 schools. Both trains embarked from the Safdarjung railway station.
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