Research centre in search of funds – Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) Lahore
LAHORE – More than 300 scientists and researchers of the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) Lahore centre have been sitting idle because of “unavailability of funds”.
During a visit to the centre by this scribe, it was found that the scientists have no work to do and the majority of them were eying other jobs, as they said they were wasting their time there and see no bright future at the PCSIR.
“If we are not even being given our salaries on time, how can we undertake research,” a scientist said on condition of anonymity. Telling further about the dearth of funds, he said pensioners too were facing deep troubles in getting their pensions.
A PCSIR official said the financial crisis has also been looming large over other centres of the council, including those at Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Haidarabad and Sakardu.
More than 3,100 employees work in the PCSIR that have 10 research centres working in various fields, including development of laboratory equipment, technology for minerals and advanced engineering materials, mineral processing, applied chemistry, food and biotechnology, environmental protection, computer and instrumentation.
It is learnt that practically the council has lost its purpose as it is making no significant contribution to the different fields of research and innovation because the government is not providing adequate funds. Another official of the institute said the government is not serious about research activities as it had cut down organisation’s budget for the ongoing fiscal year.
He said: “The council had proposed budget of about Rs1,600 million for the fiscal year 2012-13 other than 20 per cent raise in salaries but the government slashed it, instead.” He said that the PCSIR budget for fiscal 2011-12 was about Rs1,200 million and it demanded Rs1,600 million to meet the increased salaries, pensions and other expenses. But the government cut it down to about 400 million, rendering the council unable to even pay salaries and pensions, he added.
The PCSIR is considered a great asset of the county and has large number of major research works to its credit. It has also provided a large number of researchers, engineers and scientists to the other research organisations, the official informed. But he said the present state of affairs is causing depression among the employees, particularly the scientists, and is resulting in brain drain.
It is for the first time since the establishment PCSIR that its employees are looking for other options, the official said. The institute has been managing its finances by providing services of testing to other organisation and companies. “Although, we are providing services of testing to 27,000 to 30,000 companies every year but our real work is research and development which is impossible without adequate funds,” the official said.
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