President Ramotar secures multimillion-dollar funding for ECD-ECB road
President Donald Ramotar on Thursday secured a multimillion-dollar line of credit from the Indian Government to construct a major road, linking the East Coast Demerara with the East Bank Demerara roads.
The agreement was tied up between President Ramotar and India’s, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi held on the sidelines of 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Gandhinagar. Modi also agreed to provide “concessional credit” to supply a passenger ferry to help Guyana overcome transportation problems. The securing of the loan to build the road could be seen as a major success of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration amid a turbulent political climate here.
Modi in his meeting with President Ramotar said too that India would set up its first IT Centre of Excellence on the South American Continent, in Guyana. (See other story on page 2). MEA spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin said that Guyana has been added to the list of 43 existing countries whose nationals are getting tourist visas on-arrival.
“Guyana will be the 44th country,” the official said. The Housing and Water Ministry had had announced around August last year that it commenced work on the massive outlay of the road project infrastructure linking East Coast with East Bank Demerara.
The project described as the new alternative by-pass road would stretch from Diamond, East Bank Demerara, all the way to Ogle.
Housing Minister Irfaan Ali had said then that the project was being designed and that a feasibility study has been completed for this project and was submitted to the Indian Government for financing. Ali had said that while they waited on the decision from India, it had been completing all surveys and designs for the project in the meantime. The Minister explained that the Ministry has been putting itself in a state of readiness to go out to tender.
Only this week Government reported that the project was part of efforts to reduce traffic congestion for commuters on the East Bank of Demerara. President Ramotar, during his New Year’s message to the nation had said that this will catalyse US$65 million in investment, building 20 kilometres of roads and supporting infrastructure. Moreover, the Head of State said that in the first half of 2015, “we will be constructing an alternative link between Diamond and Eccles, which will greatly relieve traffic congestion for commuters on the East Bank of Demerara.”
This new road, designed as a modern highway with international standards, will provide access for more than 480 acres of unutilised land, and will allow for the creation of new communities, targeting almost 1500 households, and further adding to the development of the East Bank corridor.
Over the past years, Government has been spending billions of dollars towards improving the country’s road infrastructure.
The East Bank road is being extended into four lanes from Providence to Diamond with US$20 million loan from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB). This project is expected to be completed during the course of this year.
Government had already built a four -lane road from Ruimveldt to Providence in light of the traffic congestion caused by several new housing schemes opening on the East Bank corridor, and the fact that there are about 10,000 vehicles added to the country’s roadways every year. Work is also being undertaken to expand the East Coast road into four lanes from Better Hope to Annandale.