KARACHI: The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) on Monday urged the federal government to immediately take notice of the proposed closure of National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad and turn it into a housing scheme.
“It has come to our notice that the government authorities have decided to close NARC and use all of its land for a proposed housing scheme. This has to be stopped at all cost,” a REAP release said.
NARC is the prime research centre of the country with state-of-the-art conventional and genome research facilities. It also houses hundreds of international research institutes within the campus.
The centre has strong coordination with provincial research institutes and provides a backbone support to national agriculture.
“Closing down the centre will be detrimental for national agriculture, it will put back the country many decades and affect not only our productivity but also exports,” added the release.
“If we do not protest on this wrongdoing now, tomorrow our government will start turning our universities and other institutes into housing colonies as most of these are also located in prime lands in different cities,” it stressed.
“We humbly appeal Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to keep in view national interest and importance of food security.”
NARC was established in 1984 and is the largest research centre of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC). NARC has a total land of approximately 1,400 acres and it is located near Rawal Lake, six kilometres south-east of Islamabad. Physical facilities in term of experimental fields, laboratories, green houses, gene bank, library/documentation, auditorium, machinery and lab equipment repair workshops, stores, hostels, cafeteria, audio visual studios, are also available at NARC.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015.
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