EDUCATION: KEY TO STABILITY
UNIVERSITIES' RESEARCHES SHOULD BE ISSUES RELATED
AMANULLAH KHAN BASHAR
July 27 - Aug 02, 2009
Despite being a costly affair, the education sector has not yet risen to the occasion with an application of knowledge to address socio-economic and political issues confronted to the nation.
The graduates being produced by the business schools and other institutions of professional education have a mindset for getting a better job instead of applying their knowledge to weed out the social, economic, and political malaise eroding the values on which a nation or society grows.
Of course, there is dearth of talent in Pakistan as the young graduates usually come up with innovative ideas but they are not given a practical application or used for the good of the people, economy and the country as the most of the time the valuable research work done by the students at higher educational institutions or for that matter at lower level add to the piled up files of the shelves of the libraries or the related departments.
It is the time that the Ministry of Education should set up a monitoring department to go through all research papers produced Masters or PhD level and after sorting the papers the innovative ideas having capacity to address issues relation to the socio, economic and political issues should be applied after approval of the relevant ministries of the government.
Recently, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) has taken initiative and after a thorough research produced a report on "Disaster Management" focusing on rains in Karachi and its impact on civic services. The report has pointed out the problems and their effective solutions. Such valuable works produced painstakingly should be given due place to address the civic problems faced by the people.
According to Z.A. Nizami, Chancellor of SSUET, the university was preparing reports on natural and made-made disasters such as disaster management including hazards from tsunami, earthquake, cyclone, pollution etc.
The latest report on "Rains in Karachi Impact on Civic Services" is the latest efforts by the Institute of Human Settlements & Environment set up at SSEUT after 2005 earthquake in Kashmir and adjoining areas.
The report on rains in Karachi has focus on rainfall and its affect on civic infrastructure. It is generally observed that rainfall combined with high tides adversely affect civic services in Karachi and usually paralyze routine life of citizens. This happens partly because lack of suitable arrangements prior to advent of rainfall and partly due to general tendency to go for adhoc, makeshift solutions departing from basic engineering principles. Often longitudinal and cross sectional gradient of roads do not match with level of storm water drains. Similarly, if passage for rainfall runoff is not available there is bound to be flooding at such places. Considering importance of issue the report was prepared identifying some of the major problems in various services with solutions.
Disaster management is actually an unfinished job of development works that brings misery, leads to loss of life, damages to property, and paralyzes life in urban and rural settlements.
In case of disaster, the community faces the first shock of disaster. Any program of disaster management remains incomplete unless it is community based. Disaster management remained neglected in past and limited to small-scale relief work through relief commissioner. However, with the passage of time both intensity and frequency of disaster has increased. Disaster management has assumed importance.
Monsoon rains, floods, and cyclones study of past 75 years record shows that there has been a substantial decreasing tendency in their occurrence.
Study of past 100 year's shows that the entire Sindh region including Karachi is not prone to a major earthquake. It lies in seismically moderate earthquake zone. According to record, no epicenter of an active fault lies within an area of 100 km around Karachi.
Seismic data of past 100 year establishes that the Murray Ridge area located about 100-200 km southwest of Karachi in North Arabian Sea is vulnerable to the occurrence of Tsunami. This study report has been supported by Indian Scientific reports and UNESCO expert's opinion on tsunami.
Scientists and world over now know several measurable parameters like stress, strain, and other parameters that assist in predicting the occurrence of Tsunami. Instruments have been developed which can record these parameters on the basis of which advance warnings are issued to national disaster management committees for taking precautionary measures.
At local level in Karachi the city district government has provided institutional support with EDO Municipal Services and an Emergency Response Center. Karachi Water and Sewerage Board is conducting study under Asian Development Bank Mega city funding on disaster mitigation focusing on water and sewerage services.
ROLE OF SSUET
SSUET has taken initiative and established Institute of Human Settlements and Environment in its Civil Engineering Department. This institute conducted studies on Environment and Disaster Management as part of pubic service, which in fact should be imitated by all universities as priority agenda to justify what the nation is providing them in a form of huge funding and resources.
FUTURE COURSE AND WAY FORWARD
There is a need to have a clear policy direction of the government with provision for institutional set up at all levels.
Legislation can help in planning and enforcement of disaster management. The government has issued an Ordinance, which is helpful in organizing the job in a planned manner. There would be resource allocation and budgeting establishment of Disaster management Unit in every district, town to plan and report to emergencies. A preparedness and relief plan and a coordination mechanism for effective management and damage control is to be pursued. A disaster management Cell should prepare directory of responders, emergency team and all essential stakeholders with details.
The would be a hazard mapping of areas prone to disaster as vulnerability analysis for each type of hazard whether natural or manmade focuses on basic essential services that cover all components and sub-components in terms of physical, operational and organizational point of view. Use of satellite image, GIS is recommended.
The example of Shahrae Faisal is quite pertinent, which becomes choked due to standing rainwater making it impossible for vehicular traffic to keep on moving. In the recent rains, the most prestigious road of Shahrahe Faisal was completely choked with out of order vehicles and the people have to miss their flights, as there was no other option or access to the Karachi airport. Similarly, those passengers landed at Jinnah Terminal from abroad or from up country had to stay at the airport for whole night until they found way to reach their places. This happens whenever monsoon hits Karachi. We know the trouble spot; the only thing remains to look for is a troubleshooter.
PAKISTAN'S LIQUID FOREIGN RESERVES POSITION
The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $ 11,844.6 million on 18th July, 2009. The break-up of the foreign reserves position is as under: -