Mr. Frank Annoh-Dompreh, the Member of Parliament for Nsawam-Adoagyiri in the Eastern Region has triggered the setting up of an ad hoc committee to develop a legislation on sand winning in the country.
The Committee, expected to be formed today, will look at existing legislations by agencies working in the environmental sector and harmonise those laws to deal effectively with sand winning.
In a statement on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, the Nsawam Adoagyiri MP bemoaned what he called indiscriminate winning of sand across the country, prompting a hint from the second deputy speaker, Mr. Alban Bagbin, who was presiding over the sitting of the special committee.
The Nsawam Adoagyiri MP said the wanton dissipation of lands, which include arable ones, has brought some imbalances in the agricultural sector and could lead to food insecurity in the country.
“What makes the activities of sand winners so disgusting is the way they destroy farm lands. They hardly give farmers prior notification.
“Immediately they complete their contract agreements with the so-called land owners, they quickly move to the sites to initiate destruction of crops with the aid of bulldozers and excavators”, he said.
Apart from the destruction of farm lands, Mr. Annoh-Dompreh said, sand winning poses health threats to residents as the heavy machines used in their activities emit a lot of dust, create excessive noise and gullies near homes which have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
The practice, he said was rampant in his constituency and that “pragmatic and explicit laws and regulations have to be developed in a participatory manner so as to facilitate enforcement and compliance at all levels within the social setting.”
According to him, it was time they heeded to incessant calls on them by individuals and various agencies, actors and stakeholders to stem the tide.
In the interim, Mr. Annoh-Dompreh wants the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation hauled before Parliament to offer a briefing on planned or existing workable measures put in place to curtail the sand winning menace.
Mr. Bagbin, in his ruling, advised Mr. Annoh-Dompreh to come by a motion for the formation of the ad hoc committee, in line with Parliament’s Standing Orders, to deal with the menace.
He bemoaned the activities of land winners and said there was the need to have their operations under control.
Mr. Bagbin said successive Parliaments under the 1992 constitution have not done enough to deal with sand winning, despite similar complaints, hence the need for this Parliament to find a solution to it.
He said Parliament has the powers under Article 268 of the 1992 Constitution to ensure that there was judicious use of the country’s resources which include lands.
“Any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person including the Government of Ghana, to any other person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of this Constitution shall be subject to ratification by Parliament” the article reads.
By Julius Yao Petetsi