Encroachment, indiscriminate human activity to delay completion of 40-km Accra-Nsawam railway line

Mr Joe Ghartey being accompanied by Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah AMA chief Executive and other officials  on tour of the railway line

Mr Joe Ghartey being accompanied by Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah AMA chief Executive and other officials on tour of the railway line

Work on the 40-kilometre Accra-Nsawam railway line may not be completed on schedule due to indiscriminate human activities threatening the progress of work.

The first phase of the 200 feet stretch (100 on both sides) which would accommodate both standard and narrow gauge trains is expected to be completed by November 2018.

However rehabilitation works which begun about two weeks ago by the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) has stalled in some areas as workers have to ‘battle out’ issues of encroachment, filth, litigations and human indiscipline among others.

A joint inspection on the progress of work by the Minister of Railway Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, the Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Madam Elizabeth Sackey, officials of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport in Accra yesterday observed that several warnings to get squatters out of the railway designated areas had proved futile.

The inspection which took the team to areas including Accra Central, Circle, Alajo, Dome and Amasaman where train lines had been demarcated saw massive encroachment on railway lands with individuals engaging in activities close to the rails.

At the Graphic Road-Kantamanto railway station for instance, workers have had to evacuate volumes of garbage buried about two metres deep into the ground to get the right soil capacity for the laying of rail tracks.

Several warnings to property owners, squatters and traders stifling work progress of the GRCL had proved futile as they remain defiant in their activities.

The Deputy Managing Director of the GRCL, Dr Michael Adjei Anyetei, briefing the inspection team lamented the danger such illegal activities posed to the rehabilitation project.

“We have had instances where people dismantle the sleepers and clippings with others engaging in trading activities close to the rail despite several warnings and demarcations to ward them off,” he complained.

He appealed for police protection to bar miscreants from interfering with work of the GRCL, urging for collaborative efforts to ensure steady progress of work to revamp the once active railway system.

The sector Minister, Mr Ghartey disclosed that government had contracted a South African Company, Transnet International Holdings, to supply about 24 coaches and 110 wagons among others railway equipment to run the narrow gauge when it begins operations later in the year.

He decried the high indiscipline among Ghanaians submitting that the development of a modern railway was critical to harness the economic growth of the country.

Mr Ghartey in consultation meetings with traditional rulers, opinion leaders and chief executives of some municipalities as part of the tour, courted their support for the project and urged them to speak to their subordinates to desist from such negative acts and be supportive.

The Minister however did not rule out the possibility of demolishing some structures along the railways and apply the law where necessary to get the work done.

The Chairman of the Select Committee of Road and Transport, Mr Samuel Ayeh-Paye on his part, made known a grand transport scheme for the country to open it up for business in the sub-region.

He, therefore, expressed the need for all to support government’s plan to achieve its goals.

By Abigail Annoh and Grace Baah       

 

 

 

 

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