LAHORE – Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) is facing severe financial crunch as the government has cut down its budget about Rs 450 million for the fiscal year 2012-13, TheNation has learnt.

Sources told this scribe that the council had proposed budget of about Rs1600 million for the fiscal year 2012-13 other than 20 per cent raise in salaries but the government did vice versa.

“The PCSIR’s budget for the fiscal year 2011-12 was about Rs1200 million while the council demanded Rs1600 million to meet the increased salaries, pensions and utility bills. Interestingly, instead of increasing Rs 400 million, the government cut down Rs 450 million”, the sources said. They said that due to huge cut in the budget, the council was unable even to pay salaries and pensions to the employees.

The PCSIR, which has more than 3100 employees at its all stations including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Haidarabad and Sakardu etc, cannot meet its expenses with the allocated budget of Rs1150 million for the fiscal year 2012-13, they said.

“It seems that the government has no interest in the field of research. If the council is not given the sufficient funds, it would collapse. The PCSIR is a great asset of the country which has not only done great job in the field of research but also provided workforce including researchers, engineers and scientists to the other research organizations. The government should provide funds to the council in order to save it as it would be too much difficult to establish such institution in future,” they added.

The sources said that the PCSIR Lahore chapter, which had more than 650 employees, was needed Rs 16 million and Rs 11 million every month to pay the salaries and pensions respectively. “Every month the employees are given salaries very late due to which they are facing difficulties. It is practice of every month, the employees come to protest in front of Director General office for the salaries. The organization is being run on ad hoc basis as every month it borrows funds from anywhere to give salaries to the staff,” they added.

The officials of PCSIR Lahore, conditioning anonymity, said that they had more than 200 scientists but they were doing no major research and development project due to lack of funds.

They said the government had not allocated a single penny for research and development work, adding that although the PCSIR was generating funds from services to the industry but that was not enough to meet the expenses of the organization.

They said the PCSIR Laboratories Complex had good infrastructure with more than 200 scientists. They said it has 10 Research Centres including Centre for Development of Laboratory Equipment, Institute of Technology for Minerals & Advanced Engineering Materials, Mineral Processing Research Centre, Applied Chemistry Research Centre, Food & Biotechnology Research Centre, Centre for Environmental Protection Studies, Computer & Instrumentation Centre and others but due to lack of funds no major research and innovative work was being done.