Three Ministries, led by their Union Ministers came together to flag off the Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) here today. Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Railway, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and Union Minister of Department of Science and Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan flagged off the train from Safderjung Railway Station. The Science Express Climate Action Special will travel across the country, covering about 19, 500 kms, initially for about eight months, halting at 64 locations in about 20 states. Some of the prominent cities that the Express will halt at include – Jaisalmer, Patiala, Ambala Cantt, Pathankot, Haridwar, Allahabad, New Jalpaiguri, Bilaspur, Vishakhapatnam, Rajamundhry, Secunderabad, Rameshwaram, Palakkad, Nizamabad, Valsad and Gandhinagar.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar said that while the world is discussing Climate Change, India is leading the world on Climate Action and running a Climate Action Express. The Minister said that this is world’s first mass education programme on wheels. Shri Javadekar reiterated that India is not a part of the problem, but wants to be a part of the solution.Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that Climate Change is a big cause of concern globally and we need to take concerted action to address all environment-related issues. He said that it is quite necessary to create awareness among people about these issues which affect the lives of people in a big way. He said that Science Express Climate Action Special is a major initiative in this direction.
He said Railways is an environment-friendly mode of transportation and now it is engaged in spreading the message on environmental issues. He said this is an example where the message is relevant and apt and we have the appropriate messenger to carry this message. Referring to the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Railways in this direction, Shri Suresh Prabhu pointed out that a dedicated Directorate focussed only on environment issues has been created in his Ministry. The Railway Ministry is also chalking out a mega plan of planting trees along tracks, which will help in environment upgradation, the Minister added.Addressing the gathering, Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that each and every citizen should continuously work to reduce global warming. The Minister recounted how the Prime Minister speaking on the occasion of birth anniversary of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam earlier today, has called for adoption of science for addressing various problems of the people. He pointed out that his Ministry is working towards building clean solar energy solutions for the Railways. The Minister also added that three coaches of the Science Express have their electricity supplied from flexible solar power panels installed overhead of these coaches.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that on each of such solar powered coaches, 1700 litres of diesel can be saved per year and if these techniques are adopted, 100 million litres of diesel can be saved by the Railways every year.Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri Y.S. Chowdary said that through this special exhibition on wheels, the concept of clean energy will reach young children and students with practical demos and information. He said that it will also inculcate a scientific temper among them. Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Ashok Lavasa said that Mahatma Gandhi had undertaken a train journey during the freedom struggle to raise awareness. Similarly, this train too will create awareness on the issue of Climate Change.A brochure about an exhibition related to the issue of Climate Change and a poster were also released on the occasion. General Manager, Northern Railway, Shri A.K Puthia, Member (Electrical) Railway Board, Shri Navin Tandon, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Shri Girish Sahni were among the distinguished invitees in the gathering.
Science Express Climate Action Special: A Background
“Science Express” is an innovative mobile science exhibition mounted on a 16-coach AC train, which has been custom-built for Department of Science & Technology (DST) by Indian Railway. The Express is a unique collaborative initiative of Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Ministry of Railway. The unique mobile expo was launched in October 2007 by DST and since then it has travelled about 122, 000 kms across India in seven phases of 6-7 months duration each. The previous three phases/runs of “Science Express” were rolled out as a joint initiative of DST and MoEFCC as Biodiversity Special and showcased the myriad “Biodiversity of India”. Thus, it was rational to shift the focus to the theme “Climate Change” as it will affect the biodiversity of not just India, but the entire globe as well. More than 1.33 crore (13.3 million) people, primarily students and teachers have visited “Science Express”. It has thus become the largest, the longest running and the most visited mobile science exhibition in India.
After seven successful tours across India, “Science Express” has been redisgned on the theme “Climate Change” and run it as “”Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS). As countries across the globe come together in Paris in December 2015 to strike a new climate change pact, India will see the Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) running across the country to sensitise people among various sections of the society, especially youth, students and teachers on how Climate Change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation. The exhibition will convey a strong message about Climate Change and will also be a good opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion on the impact of Climate Change and possible strategies on mitigation and adaptation for enhancing sustainability of India’s development path. It will also put forth India’s action and the role of civil society in combating Climate Change.40 educators in different coaches of the Express will spread awareness across the country.