LUMLE (KASKI), Oct 8: Basanta Shreshtha, an animal scientist posted at Regional Agriculture Research Station Lumle (RARSL), Kaski, has been on deputation to Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) in Khumaltar for five years.
Any farmer who visits the research station in Lumle with problems related to crops and livestock, therefore, is referred to Kathmandu for consultation. Lack of human resource has brought the research project at the research station to a standstill.
According to Director of RARSL Yubaraj Pandey, with 22 officer level technicians, including scientists posted at the station, on deputation to other places, the station´s research programs have been severely affected.
According to the information, horticulture scientist Kalika Upadhaya has gone to Australia, soil scientist Parbati Adhikari, crop scientists Santa Bahadur Bishwokarma and scientist Tika Bahadur Karki have been working in Chitwan on deputation. “Most technicians and scientists go on deputations looking for plum jobs and their positions at the station remain vacant,” said Pandey.
The Lumle research station, established to conduct research on livestock, vegetables and crops in the western region, had been producing new breeds of radish, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, paddy and maize suitable for the climates of the region. The station has said that it has all but stopped the research programs in absence of the scientists and technicians.
“The human resource crunch has rendered us incapable of solving even half of the problems brought to us by the farmers of this region,” said Pandey.
Only 51 employees currently work at the research station that has 106 positions of different level and categories.
“Some 56 staffs, including 12 scientists, are working somewhere else and their posts have remained vacant,” said Pusparaj Adhikari, the station´s administrative officer.
According to some staff at RARSL, most technicians are reluctant to stay at the research station as they are not provided remoteness allowance and benefits. According to Pandey, the staff prefer urban areas as they get numerous opportunities of training in foreign countries, seminars and conference among others.
“It´s been 12 years working as a director, but I have not got any opportunity to train in a foreign country. But an officer level staff working in Kathmandu gets to visit foreign countries twice a year,” said Pandey.
With most employees vying for a work place near their homes and other easily accessible urban locations, NARC management has found it difficult to address the problem of staff crunch at remote areas.
Dr Dil Bahadur Gurung, Director at NARC, said that they had been trying to sort out the problem of research stations by forming a taskforce.
“Most research centers in remote areas have been facing these kinds of problems,” added Gurung. There are 56 research centers under NARC across the country. He also informed that they discussing with the agriculture ministry the possibility of giving priority for abroad training to those staff who have worked in a remote areas for a while.