Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a bid to create awareness among the masses, particularly students, about the rich biodiversity of the country, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday flagged off `Science Express Biodiversity Special` (SEBS) train from Safdarjung Railway Station here.
Embarking on a journey of 17,000-km, the train will cover 57 locations across 20 states in its 197-day tour. It will stop its journey in Gujarat`s Gandhinagar on February 6, 2015.
The SEBS train is a venture of three ministries- Science and Technology, Environment and Forests and Railways, and all three ministers were present today for the launch.
The train is believed to be a unique platform for dissemination of information on the biodiversity and the flora and fauna of India. Care has been taken to not only display animal portraits but also to give information on them, including on habitat and food habits.
While, the train will cover the north, south, east and west of India, ironically, it does not have any of the north-eastern states, widely known for its rich biodiversity, on its itinerary.
“Our country has a vast store of biodiversity. We have only a 2.5% share of the earth`s landmass... and yet, 8% (of the planet`s) biodiversity. We need to showcase this to future generations,” said Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Environment and Forests.
“If the protection of environment is etched in the minds of students, they will never do anything that will harm nature. A nation that does not accept science or opposes it is bound to fail,” he stressed.
He also urged Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda to make the train operational for the entire year.
Gowda stated that the initiative was innovative and touched the “real India”. It provides a platform for showcasing the achievements of science as also the railways, which extends logistical support to the Science Express.
According to Jitendra Singh, Minister for Science and Technology, science needs to be utilised for the larger goal of social transformation, adding that tt has to be used for optimum social progress and scientific transformation.
Having 16 coaches, today`s run is the third phase of the Biodiversity Special Science Express train. The first phase of the SEBS was launched on World Environment Day, June 5 in 2012 from New Delhi`s Safdarjung Railway Station and the second phase was launched on April 9 last year from the same station.
(With Agency Inputs)