BENGALURU: “It was good. But it was so rushed that I could barely take in any information,” said Bharath B, a student. This sums up the experience most visitors had at Science Express. The mobile science exhibition was parked at Kengeri railway station for three days, Sunday being the last day.
It was chaos at the small station with the train drawing at least 1.48 lakh people over the course of three days. Sunday alone saw some 55,000 people, many of whom were students.
The large crowds caused traffic jams on Mysuru Road. The venue also saw tempers rise as visitors had to wait for hours before they could get inside the train. Some returned without even going inside.
The staff members on the train who were meant to talk about the exhibits, had a tough time controlling the crowd. Instead of interacting with the crowd, they acted as mere regulators. One of the staff members Anoop A S said, “I wanted to speak about adaptation (an exhibit) but all I have been saying is ‘please keep moving’.”
As the time for the train’s departure approached, orderly queues degenerated into shoving matches and many verbal clashes broke out between visitors and the policemen.
A woman and her two children left the queue after almost three hours as the children got hungry. She said,
“The people inside the train were walking really slowly. It was inconsiderate of them not to think of the people waiting outside. As per information put out, the train was supposed to be here til 5pm but now they are saying it will be here only till 4pm.”Prior to Kengeri, the train was parked at Whitefield for three days and it will now go to Kolluru in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district. The train travels throughout the country every year.
However, for those who could enter the train, the relief was palpable on their faces.
The theme of the exhibition this year was climate action— the seriousness of the problem, what was being done about it and what could be done. Spread over 11 coaches, the exhibition consisted of models, photographs and infographics.