ABOUT 5,000 petty traders including transport unions operating at the Kejetia terminals in the Kumasi metropolis were greeted with a shocking scene in the early hours of yesterday, when they reported for their usual business and noticed that the terminal had been fenced with aluminum sheets.
The fencing, which took off at about 11:00pm on Sunday under heavy security, was to pave way for the re-construction of the $298million Kejetia lorry terminal – Central Market project.
It was quite an emotional scene as most of the traders, mostly women, threw themselves on the ground amid weeping and wailing and calling on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to intervene.
A sod cutting ceremony for the commencement of the project, was scheduled to have been performed by President, John Dramani Mahama, on March 31, this year, but the traders and transport unions kicked against it with series of demonstrations.
A Brazilian construction firm, Contracta, would be executing the project which has been spread into three phases. The phase one is the reconstruction of the Kejetia bus terminal into a modern standard one of accommodate traders who would be affected by the re-development of the Central Market.
Phase one of the project, which involves the construction work at the Kejetia bus terminal will take in a period of 24 months at the cost of $198 million, while the remaining $100 million, will be expended on the second and third phases, which focus on the re-development of the Kumasi Central Market.
Earlier, Mr .Bonsu announced that transport unions operating from the Kejetia terminal would be re-located, temporarily, to the erstwhile Race Course, the Afua Kobi Market and Sofo Line while the Royal Market and Acheamfuor Trading Centres had been secured to resettle the traders at the terminal at no cost for two and a half years.
But, the traders rejected the KMA’s ejection plan for fear of not getting back their property after the completion of the project and petitioned Mr Eric Opoku, who was acting as the Ashanti Regional Minister, in March this year, who requested that, they teamed up with the KMA to register occupants at the place. The registration exercise began in April this year amid tight military presence.
Mr Bonsu, however, allayed the fears of traders who were worried their shops and stalls would not get back to them after the completion of the project.
A visit by The Ghanaian Times to the 40,000 square kilometres parcel of land at the Race Course, where some of the traders were supposed to be relocated, revealed that the area was yet to be cleared to the chagrin of the traders.
From Kingsely E. Hope, Kumasi