THE Indian government has set aside about M67 million for the construction of a vocational school in Lesotho which is expected to commence next year.
The Indian High Commissioner to South Africa and Lesotho, Ruchira Kamboj, told the media at a Maseru hotel that the vocational school was one of the major projects which her country would assist the country with from 2019 onwards.
Ms Kamboj her country is committed to assisting Lesotho in various development projects as demonstrated by the vocational school which is coming after the launch of the Lerotholi Polytechnic technology centre last year.
“India is committed to assisting Lesotho in various development ways and the vocational school for women and youth will be another huge project following the information technology centre at Lerotholi Polytechnic we launched last year in November,” Ms Kamboj said.
“It is going to be a very significant project worth USD4, 7 million (about M67 million) and since the construction equipment is already in the country, we are hopeful the construction will start next year.
“However, it is not yet clear as to which location will be used for the construction of the new vocational institution.”
Ms Kamboj, who is based in Pretoria, further indicated that her visit to the country was to also to discuss with different government sectors other possible ways of development.
“Since my arrival two days ago I have met with officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education, Health and Agriculture to discuss ways in which we could further strengthen the ties between the two countries.
“India is already exporting pharmaceuticals to Lesotho but I also learnt that the health sector was in serious need of specialists and we also talked about the shortage of ambulances. These and other projects in agriculture are some of the things we will look into in 2019 which means it is going to be a big year for both India and Lesotho.
“Each year India also offers scholarships to Basotho in various sectors of technology, defence, medicine and agriculture among others and we are hopeful that Basotho will continue to utilise the scholarships effectively,” she said.
Ms Kamboj’s first visit to Lesotho was in November 2017 when she officially handed over the information technology facility at Lerotholi Polytechnic and further donated 500 metric tonnes of rice to Lesotho.
Ms Kamboj also indicated that India would continue to invest in other developments upon the request by Lesotho’s government.
She applauded the community work which was been done by the Indian Association of Lesotho (IAL) among the vulnerable communities around the country.
For his part, the IAL President, Biju Abraham Korah, said as part of the community in Lesotho, they strive to help the vulnerable in any way possible.
“We do a lot of charity work, mostly in rural areas where there are large numbers of vulnerable people. There are no medical facilities in most rural areas therefore we have started with free medical camps which we host quarterly but then we are hopeful that with the support of the government, we will get to construct clinics.
“From last year only we have given out 25 scholarships to students in high schools and we also have 150 children in Kolonyama whom we assist with basic needs. We also visit different orphanages across the country to make donations.
“Apart from that, we try to integrate with Basotho through initiatives such as the annual International Food, Trade and Fun Fair Festival, cultural performances during the India Day and also the National Cricket Tournament which is currently ongoing,” Mr Korah said.