New Delhi: Science Express -- a 16-coach train for promoting scientific temper -- today began its fifth journey, this time to raise awareness about the country`s unique biodiversity.
The `Science Express - Biodiversity Special (SEBS)` was flagged off by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit at the Delhi Safdarjang Railway Station here this morning.
The train will remain at the Safdarjung Railway Station till Thursday after which it will begin its journey to reach out to over a million people.
It will be stationed at Hyderabad from October 9-19 when the city would host the 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The train will culminate for the year at Gandhinagar on December 22.
Of the 16 coaches comprising the SEBS, eight are dedicated to showcasing biodiversity spread across the various bio-geographical zones -- the Trans-Himalaya and the Himalayas, the Gangetic Plain, North East India, the Desert and Semi-Arid Zone, the Western Ghats, the Deccan Peninsula and the Coasts and Islands.
Three other coaches have exhibits on climate change, energy and water conservation.
During June-December 2012, the train will travel almost 18,000 km, halting for three to four days at each of the 52 locations.
According to the ministry, the exhibition is expected to draw more than 1.5 million visitors, while indirectly it is likely to engage over five million people.
The Science Express began as an Indo-German venture in 2007 and has toured the country four times.
Speaking on the occasion, Natarajan said that the Science Express train is an endeavour to generate awareness about environment protection and sustainable development.
The minister said that nature protects us if she is protected by us.
Dikshit complemented the Environment Ministry for bringing out a train which is scheduled to cover more than 100 stations across the country. She narrated the efforts by Delhi government for environmental protection.
During the programme, Indira Gandhi Parayavaran Puruskar were given to two institutions and two individuals.