World class research lab, built at over Rs 1 crore, turns poultry fodder store | india-news | Hindustan Times
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World class research lab, built at over Rs 1 crore, turns poultry fodder store

Built at more than Rs one crore a few years ago, the lab in UP’s Pilibhit was supposed to be used by PhD students and other research scholars of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).

india Updated: Apr 25, 2017 15:44 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
A file picture of ICAR’s stall at the Indian Science Congress in Kolkata, 2013.
A file picture of ICAR’s stall at the Indian Science Congress in Kolkata, 2013.(ICAR)

A world-class research lab of India’s apex agriculture body has turned into a store for poultry fodder.

Built at more than Rs one crore a few years ago, the lab in UP’s Pilibhit was supposed to be used by PhD students and other research scholars of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).

But instead, the lab has no other use but storing fodder for poultry.

The reason: while constructing the world-class laboratory, ICAR and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) didn’t make provisions for power and water supply!

On Monday, Parliament watchdog, PAC stumbled on a CAG report that alleged major lapses in the construction of the research lab.

“Initially, the lab was planned in Delhi, but for reasons unknown, it was shifted to Pilibhit. But what intrigued everyone in the panel is how government’s two apex bodies (ICAR and CPWD) forgot to provide power and water supply,” said a member of the PAC.

“There were no clear answers. And both the agencies were not forthcoming to take the onus for this disaster,” said another member.

At the PAC meeting, some members even asked why the lab was shifted from Delhi to Pilibhit. The process led to escalation of costs by almost 100%, the CAG remarked in its report.

Both, ICAR and CPWD have been asked to explain how public money was wasted even as the key educational infrastructure was not built.

According to sources, ICAR decided to not to incur more money for power and water supply as the expenses had already hiked sharply.

Scientists have often highlighted that India lacks world-class facilities in higher education and scientific research. There have been allegations of shortage of funds too.

The latest episode, however shows how resources have been squandered while the scientific community derived little benefit.