At least some of the traveling woes of pedestrians are now relieved this festive season, with the donation of 15 new 52-seater buses to the Liberian Government by the Indian Government.
The buses were yesterday dedicated and turned over to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by the Honorary Indian Consul General to Liberia, Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva, at ceremonies held on the grounds of the National Transit Authority (NTA), along the Somalia Drive.
Consul General Sachdeva, commonly known in Liberia as ‘Mr. Jeety’, said the 15 buses are in fact an addition to 25 buses previously donated in October 2010 by his country’s government and people. The 25 buses were turned over to the President on her 72nd birthday in 2010.
“These bus 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,” the Indian diplomat said.
According to him, the additional buses are his country’s way of identifying with GOL’s policy program of “setting up a reliable, efficient and sustainable public mass transit system in line with the Poverty Reduction Strategy.”
Touching on his country’s response to the fight against the Ebola virus disease (EVD), he said his country has given at least US$12.5 million to the UN Trust Fund for Ebola and the World Health Organization. US$2 million of the money was used to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist health workers in the three worst affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
He disclosed that his Ambassador, Mr. Dinesh Bhatia, who resides in Abidjan, La Côte d’Ivoire, donated a US$50,000 worth of medicines to Liberia and “an ambulance is on the way to Monrovia as part of that assistance.”
It can be recalled that the Association of Indian Community in Liberia, last August, gave US$200,000 worth of Ebola materials to the GOL.
President Sirleaf, who was brief, thanked the Indians for the buses and urged the National Transit Authority (NTA) to put them on the roads so they can begin to convey people.
She reminded the NTA management that one-third of the country’s population resides in Monrovia and its environs. The President, however, commended the transit authority for keeping the entity viable and for a dedicated and honest service to nation.
She disclosed that the National Transit Authority management has agreed to give at least one of the buses to the University of Liberia.