India Donates 15 Additional Buses…Ambulance To Follow Soon

In its strives to ease the transportation problem facing the citizens of Liberia especially those in Monrovia, the Government of India has made another huge donation to the country.

The Indian Government yesterday turned over additional 15 buses to the Government of Liberia through the National Transit Authority (NTA). The donation of the 15 buses is in addition to the 25 buses that were donated to Liberia sometimes ago by India.

Speaking when he turned the keys of the buses to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Indian Consul General in Liberia, Upjit S. Sachdeva, lauded President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for what he called her extraordinary leadership role in the continuing fight to eradicate the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) completely from Liberia.He also commended the people of Liberia for their resilience and courage in fearlessly confronting the disease and Liberia’s partners who have joined the Ebola fight in Liberia.

He said the 15 buses are additional ones to a previous Twenty-five (25) buses donated in October 2010 by the Government and People of India to the Government and People of Liberia. He stated further that the donations are a culmination of efforts at various official levels both in Liberia and India, and reflect the very cordial and mutually beneficial bilateral relations between India and Liberia.

Mr. Sechdeva said the additional units of bus donations are India’s way of identifying with the Government of Liberia’s policy program of setting up of a reliable, efficient and sustainable public mass transit system in line with the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Besides the gift of buses according to Mr. Sechdeva, the Government of India has also been identifying and partnering with the Government of Liberia in several other areas of human endeavors, including human resource development programs for Liberian candidates in the areas of agriculture, technical and professional fields.

“In support of the global response to the fight against Ebola, the Government of India, apart from its direct assistance of medical supplies to Liberia, made a contribution of US$10 million to the UN Trust Fund for Ebola, and US$500,000 to the World Health Organization to strengthen global efforts to tackle the outbreak. The Government of India also donated additional US$2 million for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to assist Health Workers in the worst affected countries,” Mr. Sechdeva intimated.

He added that the Government of India, through the special efforts of the Ambassador of India accredited to Liberia with residence in Abidjan, Mr. Dinesh Bhatia, also donated US$50,000 bilateral assistance in medicines to Liberia and an ambulance is on the way to Monrovia as part of that assistance.

He said in Liberia, the Association of the Indian Community in Liberia, in solidarity with, and as part of its contribution towards the fight against the disease, in August this year donated several assorted Ebola related items to the Liberian Nation& Ebola Task Force worth over US$200,000. He added that the doors of all Indian owned businesses of the Association remained open throughout the Ebola crisis.

Also speaking, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf lauded the Government and people of India for their continuous support to Liberia especially during the deadly Ebola crisis. President Sirleaf said the donation of the buses at this time is appropriate and an extraordinary support to the country.

She called on the NTA authorities to ensure that the buses are put on the road for the smooth movement of the citizens. President Sirleaf at the same time, called on marketers selling at the various bus stops to vacate and give way for commuters who wait for the buses.

She then appealed to the NTA authorities to turn one of the buses to the University of Liberia to ease the cost of transportation of students attending the institution.

Earlier, the Managing Director of NTA, TarnueJeke said while Liberians struggle to purge the country of the Ebola virus and to tackle the loaming economic predicament which affects the country, NTA has continued to commute the public with caution.

He said sometimes last year, President Sirleaf travelled to India upon the invitation of the Indian government. During the visit according to Mr. Jeje, the President made a request to the Indian government for mass transit buses to further augment the existing public transport services in Liberia.

“The Indian government responded to the President’s request with a generous donation of 15 brand new Ashok Leyland 222 WB Falcon buses that are being dedicated today. The new buses when added to the existing Ashok Leyland fleet of buses at NTA will bring the total number to 55 functional buses. The 15 brand new buses will contribute significantly to our re-fleeting strategy, consistent with keeping the same brand as best management of maintenance, servicing and spare parts,” he among other things said. Morrison O.G. Sayon writes