The central government has announced the launch of a new train named "Science Express- Biodiversity Special (SEBS)" which it hopes will educate more than a million citizens about the unique biodiversity of India over the next two years.
A collaboration between the Environment Ministry and the Department of Science & Technology, the train will be flagged off by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5 from Safdarjung Railway Station here, said an official of the ministry.
Of the 16 coaches comprising the Science Express - Biodiversity Special, eight are dedicated to showcasing the myriad 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.
With India hosting the 11th meet of the Conference of Parties (CoP-11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP11) in October, the train will be stationed at Hyderabad Oct 9-19 for delegates and dignitaries to experience the rich biodiversity of the country.
The train will culminate for the year 2012 at Gandhinagar on Dec 22.
"The eight coaches, highlighting biodiversity across the bio-geographic zones in the country, will focus on a range of areas like biological diversity, critically endangered species, biodiversity hotspots and other facets like marine, coastal, forest, microbial and agro biodiversity and their linkage with livelihoods, besides on challenges of conservation," the official said.
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.
A specific outreach programme will be held at local schools and institutions associated with the ministry's National Environment Awareness Campaign (NEAC) and the National Green Corps (NGC) to attract more students.