ISLAMABAD: The fate of the channel, which was planned to be launched by the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) in December last year, still remains uncertain, The Express Tribune has learnt reliably on Monday.
The agro TV channel was designed to teach new farming techniques in regional languages and improve farm productivity across the country.
Dr Zafar Altaf, the former PARC chairman who was recently removed from his position, talked to The Express Tribune about the reasons for the delay.
Altaf said that everything was in place – the equipment, the studio – and the only ingredient missing was the commercial broadcast licence for the channel.
Altaf believes that his unrelenting demand for funds may have prompted the government to remove him from his post.
“TV channel is one of the big projects (undertaken by the PARC) for which I was (continually) asking the government to release funds. They do not realise that the (financial) investment into the channel may be (just) 30 million by private investors but the opportunity cost is really high,” Altaf said.
He added that Dr Mohammad Afzal, who previously served as chief scientist in the PARC, as the acting chairman “is purely a ministry decision”.
A PARC official said that it would be too early to say anything about the fate of projects which have not yet been launched. He said that the agro TV channel was a major project, but progress during the current administration’s tenure would not be “as quick as was routine in the previous chairman’s tenure”.
“There are no recent instructions for releasing fresh funds for the channel. We’ll just have to be patient,” he added.
Other PARC officials said that they were not too optimistic about the TV channel project.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2011.
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