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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) oxygen plant may not be made operational in an emergency due to some problems, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said.

This, he stated, while talking to media, after visiting the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), here on Monday.

He stated that Pakistan lacks oxygen and necessary stock for the coronavirus pandemic, and added that there are problems in emergency activation of the oxygen plant at the Steel Mills but if it is activated, it will be beneficial for the country.

Responding to a question regarding activating PSM oxygen plant, Faraz said the Ministry of Industries and Production was looking into the PSM oxygen plant, and he had also spoken to the minister of industries and production, in this regard.

However, he said that what he thought was that the PSM oxygen plant might not be made operational in an emergency due to some problem.

The federal minister for science and technology also declared that Pakistan’s locally-manufactured ventilators are malfunctioning and are just able to perform four out of 16 functions.

To a question regarding availability and production of ventilators, the federal minister said they did not have sufficient oxygen and other necessary stock in the country for dealing with any emergency situation related to COVID-19.

He said the Ministry of Science and Technology acted as facilitator and they did not have their own ventilators yet.

However, the National Radio and Telecommu-nication Corporation (NRTC) and private firms were manufacturing ventilators in the country.

There were 16 functions of ventilators but the ventilators being made at local level have only four functions, he said.

The federal minister said that the universities were not supposed to only give degrees but also to impart skills, adding, “We have to see how much impact our universities are creating on the lives of the people.”

Faraz said that the government’s job was not just to provide jobs but to create an enabling environment that provided employment opportunities for the people.

The minister emphasised the importance of creating strong linkages between the universities and the industry to create job opportunities for the youth.

The minister appreciated the global and national contribution of the NUST, and said the university was rendering valuable contribution in high education sector of the country, creating significant impact through prioritizing quality education.

He further said that universities should also contribute to the development of the country and take steps for enhancing employability skills among youth.

About supporting India during worsening COVID-19 situation, Faraz said, “Pakistan will extend support to India as much it can. This is the issue of humanity and our sympathies are with India.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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