Speakers on Monday stressed the need for establishment of a digital earth resource centre for identification and sustainable use of natural resources of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Fata.
They were addressing an international congress organised by National Centre of Excellence in Geology (NCEG), University of Peshawar, in collaboration with Academy of Sciences at a local hotel on Monday.
The speakers maintained that while there are around 3,500 geologists in the country, their potential remains underutilised in resource exploration by the policy makers. They opined that natural resources are contributing 2.5% to the Gross Domestic Product, but the actual potential of untapped resources is much higher than its present share in the country’s economy.
In his opening remarks, NCEG Director Asif Khan highlighted the progress of the centre and its contribution towards sustainable development of natural resources. He said the centre has produced 30 PhDs and 80 MPhils up till now.
He added that the NCEG and National Centre of Physical Chemistry have been ranked as the top two centres among all the 22 centres of the country.
Minister of Environment Wajid Ali Khan encouraged the participants to contribute in developing minerals, hydrocarbon, water, forest and agriculture potential of the region to find an alternative sustainable source of livelihood.
The University of Peshawar (UoP) vice chancellor emphasised the need for value addition of natural resources through modern extraction techniques. He proposed that by utilising the water resource of K-P, the power crisis in the country can be resolved.
He appreciated the identification of 26 hydel sources by the provincial government for exploration of K-P’s water potential.
K-P Minister for Higher Education Qazi Muhammad Asad Khan appreciated a four-day workshop on “Geoscience Information System for Natural Hazard Management” designed for 15 scientists from Kabul University (KU) and Kabul Polytechnic Institute. “Peshawar has historical links with Kabul and collaboration between Kabul and Peshawar universities is only natural,” he said, adding that he favoured an independent status of centres within UoP campus so that they can carry on research work.
Scientists from University of Engineering and Technology, University of Peshawar, K-P Agricultural University, University of Kabul, Allama Iqbal University, Pakistan Forest Institute, Pakistan Gem and Jewellery Company and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources participated in the congress.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2013.