Stakeholder involvement necessary to clear rail line project hurdles

By Christabel Addo/Julius K. Satsi GNA,
Accra, August 3, GNA – The feasibility studies on the routes of the 84 – kilometre-Tema -Akosombo Railway Development Project has started.

However, AFCONS Construction, the contractors, is facing challenges such as, land for expansion, because of encroachment of the buffer areas and the lack of community ownership of the project.

Mr Richard Diedong Dombo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Railway Development Authority, who announced this, therefore, urged the various stakeholders to play their roles as leaders in ‘buying’ the communities and their leaders into supporting and owning the project.

This, he said, would help to realise the gains of job creation, along with the general socio-economic developments from the project, valued at $398 million.

Mr Dambo, was addressing the maiden stakeholder consultative workshop on Ghana’s Railway Master Plan and updated them on the Project.

He said the project would have to pay some compensation which would only cover those whose properties would be legally affected, but these recompenses packages would vary for individuals and the type of structures affected.

The three-year project, would be started in October this year.

Using graphical images to show the aerial view of the routes, the Chief Executive demonstrated the challenges on the ground as a result of the massive encroachments by the settler communities.

Mr Dambo emphasised, therefore, that the involvement of key stakeholders in Ghana’s comprehensive rail line development was very crucial for the successful execution of the project.

He said the broad participation and engagement would ensure community ownership of such projects, and also provide a better understanding of the numerous socio-economic benefits.

The participants, who included institutional heads from Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Grid Company Limited, the Ghana Police Service among others, were thus to discuss those challenges being faced by the contractors.

He said, and urged the various stakeholders to play their roles as leaders in ‘buying’ the communities and their leaders into owning the project

Mr Kwaku Agyenim Boateng, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Railway Development, said the project when completed, would help accelerate the movement of cargo from the Tema Port, which would in turn improve vessel turnaround time to make the port more competitive.

It was also expected to address the imbalance between transport modes for long distance transit and domestic freight from the South to the Northern part of the country, he said.

He said works on the project would include the building of six rail stations at the Tema Port, Tema Industrial Area, Afienya, Doryumu and Kodiabe, Kpong and Akosombo, as well as the construction of railway terminals at Tema and Akosombo.

Operational facilities and loading equipment would also be provided to ease the pressure on the road networks along the corridor.

He said the Project which was also dear to the heart of the President and his government as it would significantly reduce the cost of transportation of bulk commodities as well as offer an alternative and cheaper means of transport for passengers who would ply that route.

GNA

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