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Accra, Oct. 20, GNA - The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) demolition task force squad have descended on the two Tema Stations in Accra, removing and destroying unauthorised structures in the area as the decongestion of the Metropolis gathered momentum. Wailing and weeping traders looked on while the AMA task force removed containers and destroyed stalls, especially on the lane behind the New Tema Station.
The hawkers and traders whose kiosks and stalls were destroyed, starting from Friday morning, have expressed anger at the manner in which the exercise was being conducted. Mr Daniel Adjei Adjetey, Chairman of the Tema Station Traders Association told the GNA that the AMA did not give them enough notice before carrying out the decongestion exercise. He said they had several consultations with the AMA Authorities and they were made to believe that the lane on which they were located, known, as "Greenbelt" would not be affected by the decongestion exercise.
Mr Adjetey said the exercise was painful since it has thrown the traders who had acquired micro loan facilities from banks could not work to settle the loans.
A trader, Mr Stephen Eyiam said they were relocated at the 'Greenbelt' since 1992 with the promise of giving them permanent settlement, but nothing had been done since then. Madam Victoria Mensah, Chairman of Foodstuff Sellers Association, said the action of AMA had come to them as a surprise because when the Association heard rumours about the possible decongestion at the Tema Station, they contacted the authorities at the AMA and were assured that nothing like that would happen.
She said about two years ago, they were encouraged by the AMA to form the Association so that they could have a common voice in any decision of the AMA that might affect them.
She added that officials from the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs and the AMA were present at the inauguration of the Association and they therefore felt that the city authorities had accepted them. Madam Mensah said the destruction of the market was painful because during the celebration of the 50th independence anniversary, they spent 35 million cedis to rehabilitate portions of the market and also put up new structures.
"Now that they have destroyed all these structures, this huge amount of money used to get the market beautified has gone to waste." She appealed to the AMA to either rescind its decision of evicting them from the Tema Station or find a place to resettle them as they had done for hawkers at Central Accra. "We are prepared to invest more in the rehabilitation of the market if the AMA is not happy with what we have done so far. They should please not throw us out of business since we also have families to take care of," she said.
The decongestion exercise has also affected areas such as Circle, Makola, Kaneshie and Tudu.
AMA on Wednesday night gave some bite to its vow to decongest the metropolis when it again embarked on a massive exercise to rid the city of unauthorised structures. The city authorities have also vowed to sustain the exercise until people see reason. Meanwhile traders and hawkers are struggling for space with the tro-tro vehicles at the Tema Station. Many of the drivers and passengers, GNA talked to expressed concern about how traders and hawkers have turned the lorry station into a market, still doing brisk business and disrupting their operations.
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