New Delhi: Delhi University's 'Gyanodaya Express' on Thursday set off for the northeast with 870 students and teachers on board with an aim to enrich the students about the rich culture and heritage of the region.
The 'Dharohar-Gyanodaya Express' train was flagged off from the Safdarjang Railway Station here by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs of India Kiren Rijiju and Sarbanda Sonowal, MoS Youth Affairs and Sports. Both the ministers hail from the northeast.
Started as the 'College-on-Wheels' project in 2012, this is the fifth edition of Gyanodaya Express.
"This is a very unique concept to be pursued by any educational institution and we have drawn an inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi who had travelled in trains for over an year. Real education means ground exposure to students," DU Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh told PTI.
"I hope more and more universities will join hands with us for future Gyanodaya editions to enable students studying in universities across the country to benefit from the initiative," he said.
The trip, which will conclude on December 29, will cover all eight northeastern states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
The varsity had offered short-term courses in Assamese, Nagamese, Manipuri, Arunachali and Tripuri languages of the northeast. Foundation courses in Nepali and Bengali, which are widely spoken in Sikkim and Tripura, were also offered by DU as part of the preparation for the heritage tour.
"The 14-coach train has two classrooms with all infrastructural facilities, including projectors and LCD screens. As many as 70 students will be given class at a time. There is a library and the train is equipped with internet facilities to aid students in studies," DU's Media Coordinator and Joint Dean of Welfare Malay Neerav said.
DU had invited proposals from students about projects they would like to undertake on such a journey. The colleges had selected the best proposals and nominated them for the tour with the final call on the selected students having been taken by a project selection committee.
"A total of 65 projects will be undertaken. Students have been divided into groups of 10 each supervised by one mentor. Each group also has a student from northeast to help the students familiarise with the area or language," he added.
The students will meet representatives of local universities as well as senior functionaries of the states during the trip.
DU also plans to publish a book titled 'Dharohar: The glory of the Northeast' on the experiences of the students during the journey as well as the projects churned out by them.