Biodiversity Special Express, the latest phase of Science Express, is not scheduled to visit Coimbatore Junction.
Of the thematic expo on wheels by railways, Mother Theresa Express visited Coimbatore and when Swami Vivekananda Express was about to skip Coimbatore Junction, Ramakrishna Mission intervened and pleaded with the railways to have the train visit Coimbatore in July 2011.
But, Coimbatore with so many education institutions for higher learning and a number of schools, was not included in the list of places where Science Express was scheduled to visit and it skipped the junction in April 2011, says Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee.
Now, Coimbatore is missing in the route map of the latest phase of Science Express – Bio Diversity Special Express.
In its current journey from Chennai on August 10 to southern districts and Kerala, the train is not finding a mention about visit to Coimbatore. From October 4 to 8 it is at Kazipet and from October 9 to 19, it is at Secunderabad.
Coimbatore region has the Nilgiris Bio Sphere Reserve and it was recently declared as a World Heritage Sight. Coimbatore also hosts institutes such as Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Tamil Nadu Forest Academy, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History. More over, Coimbatore is in the lap of Western Ghats but still Railways does not find Coimbatore worthy for the visit of Bio-diversity express which is very sad and unfortunate, says Rail activist S. Ravi.
It is sad and unfortunate that Coimbatore is always forgotten by the Railway Administration excepting for the revenue that it generates, the highest ever in Southern Railway next only to Chennai, says R. Raveendran of Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore.
The Science Express – Bio Diversity Special is a collaborative initiative of Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Government of India. It showcases the wide array of biodiversity in the country and the conservation measures adopted. The exhibition also showcases aspects of climate change, water, energy conservation, environment and legacy of the Science Express.
Having ignored Coimbatore in its ‘inimitable style’, it is time for the NGOs, biodiversity and green enthusiasts, green brigades, institutions of excellence offering research courses in agriculture, bio-diversity, forestry to join together to explain the importance of Coimbatore to the Southern Railway and Railway Board for getting this train routed via Coimbatore with a halt for at least two days, says Jameel Ahmed, member of the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee.
Science Express - Biodiversity Special is an innovative and unique mobile exhibition mounted on a specially-designed 16-coach AC train travelling across India. Of the 16 coaches, eight are dedicated to showcasing 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, Western Ghats the Deccan Peninsula, and the Coasts and Islands.The exhibition is open for all.