VARANASI: The Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS), which was flagged off by railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, minister of environment and forests Jayanthi Natarajan and Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit from Safdarjung Railway Station on April 9, will remain stationed at Azamgarh railway station of Varanasi division of North Eastern Railway (NER) from April 14 to 16.
Under the second phase of the programme, SEBS will cover 62 stations over the next 6 months. Of the 16 coaches of train, eight are 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 will be shown on plasma & LED TV screens, large format displays, kiosks, backlit panels etc.
The rest of coaches have exhibits on climate change, energy and water conservation. The ‘Joy of Science Lab’ is mounted in an coach where students will be guided to conduct experiments to understand concepts of various themes projected in the train. In addition, on the railway platform where the train is halted, young visitors are encouraged to play exciting games as well as participate in quizzes, painting competitions, elocution contests.
The window panes of the train have also been judiciously used to put up posters on flora & fauna found in India which keep the visitors engaged.In its first leg of journey, the train will leave for Pragati Maidan Railway Station where it will be stationed from April 10 to 13. It will be open to visitors from 10 am to 5 pm and entry is free. A team of 40 trained and motivated post graduates in science, will remain on-board throughout the entire journey and explain the content of the exhibits and also answer queries. Thereafter the train will halt at 60 more locations across India before returning to its base station at Gandhinagar on October 28.
During its first phase, which ended on 22 December 2012 at Ahmedabad, it made halts of 3-4 days duration each at 51 locations and over 23 lakh people, including 6 lakh students and 32,000 teachers from 7,000 schools enjoyed learning.