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The Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia, Upjit S. Sachdeva has commended the Government and People of Liberia for their resilience and courage in fearlessly confronting the Ebola disease in the country.
Mr. Sachdeva, popularly known across Liberia as 'Jeety', said partners who have joined the Ebola fight in Liberia, also deserve commendation.
He indicated that the Government and People of India will continue to stand by Liberia during these difficult times in the history of the country.
The Honorary Consul General of India spoke Monday when the Liberian government received 15 brand new Ashok Leyland buses donated by the Government of India. The donation followed a request by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her visit there last year.
Mr. Sachdeva said the donation is a culmination of efforts at various official levels both in Liberia and India, and reflect the very cordial and mutually beneficial bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Consul General indicated that these 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, Mr. Sachdeva disclosed that 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, Engineering, IT, and other technical and professional fields.
The Consul General explained that 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.
He added that 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.
Moreover, the Indian government, 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. He added that an ambulance is on the way to Monrovia as part of that assistance.
According to the Consul, 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 donated several assorted Ebola related items to the Liberian National Ebola Task Force worth over US$200,000.
He said despite the situation Liberia faces, the doors of all Indian owned businesses remained open throughout the Ebola crisis.
He commended President Johnson Sirleaf for her extraordinary leadership role in the continuing fight to eradicate the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) completely from Liberia.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony at the premises of the National Transit Authority (NTA) in Gardnersville, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said providing adequate public transportation to Liberians across the landscape remains a priority on her administration's agenda.
With the additional buses, President Sirleaf admonished the managing director to quickly deploy some of them on the streets of Monrovia to alleviate the hardships commuters undergo to find transportation. “It's time to put those buses on the streets as one-third of the population of this country is in Monrovia and its environs,” she said.
The Liberian leader appealed to the NTA managing director to make available one bus to the University of Liberia to enable them commute students to and from the Fendell campus.
She praised the NTA's young leadership for performing their duties with excellence. “They continue to carry out their responsibilities with a lot of dedication, commitment, expertise and love for their country,” she said. President Sirleaf thanked the Government and people of India for the donation and all those who made it a reality.