India gov’t donates indelible ink to EC-SL

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By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The Indian Government, through its Embassy in Sierra Leone, last Thursday donated cartoons containing over 40,000 bottles of indelible ink to the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (EC-SL). 

Speaking at the handing over ceremony at EC-SL, warehouse at Wellington in Freetown,Charge D’Affaires at the India Embassy in Sierra Leone, Neeraj Kumar Saini, said it was a matter of immense pleasure and happiness for him and his colleagues from Indian High Commission to be a part of the handing over ceremony of Indelible ink, which was provided by the Government of India as a friendly gesture to Sierra Leone for the forthcoming Presidential Elections. 

He said the request for indelible ink was received from  Electoral Commission since last year and keeping in view the cordial and strong bilateral relations between India and Sierra Leone, Indian High Commission, with its strong recommendations, promptly sent the proposal to the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, in India.

“The Ministry of External Affairs also accepted the proposal positively and initiated process of procurement of indelible ink immediately. And, finally the consignment of 40,000 units of Indelible Ink arrived in  Freetown on 31 March 2023 in a very timely manner and is ready to be used in the forthcoming elections. You would appreciate that in the past also, India had donated indelible ink to Sierra Leone for elections,”he said.

He further noted that India has always been a time tested friend of Sierra Leone, noting that in the past, during civil war time, India had sent a strong 4000-Indian Military contingent in the UN Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in 2000-2001, led by Maj Gen V.K. Jaitley.

He said  India has approved Line of Credits of approximate 250 Million US Dollars for different developmental projects in Sierra Leone and  some of the projects  have been completed while some are under implementation.

He said as a gesture of humanitarian assistance, India had supplied 1000 MTs rice for the friendly people of Sierra Leone in 2021 and a large consignment of medicines during Covid-19 pandemic and that they were also helping Sierra Leone in human capital development through Indian Technical and Economic Programme and provides 50 slots every year for short term courses. 

He said the  Indian Government bears full cost of all the course, including return air tickets between Sierra Leone and India, and boarding and lodging in India.

He disclosed that the Government of India has also allotted 15 slots of scholarships for full time graduate and post graduate courses for Sierra Leone, which are funded by Indian Council for Cultural Relations, noting that Sierra Leonean students can also pursue various online courses through e-VidyaBharti (e-VAB) programme and more than 400 students have benefited under this programme so far.

Receiving the donation, the Chief Electoral Commissioner of EC-SL, Mohamed Kenewui Konneh, expressed appreciation to the government of India.

He said India has always maintained good bilateral relationship with Sierra Leone, noting that the ink donated are of high quality and will help immensely in the voting process of the June 24 general elections.

He said India has also helped in building the human capital of the commission by training their Information Technology (I.T) officers for which they are grateful.

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