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General News Mon, 29 May 2006

Parliamentary Select Committee inspects Korle project

Accra, May 29, GNA - Mr Samuel Johnfiah, Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Water Resources, Works and Housing on Monday called for the urgent evacuation of the People of Sodom and Gomorrah from their present location.

He said the continuous stay of the people at the location was hampering the continuation of work as well as causing a delay in the completion of the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project. Mr Johnfiah, who made the call when he led members of the select committee to inspect the progress of work at the KLERP site, said judgement had already been given on the issue and therefore did not know what was causing the delay in the evacuation of the people. He therefore, appealed to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to expedite action on the evacuation exercises, to pave way for the construction of the project.

The project design aimed at improving the ecological and environmental aspects of the Korle lagoon. However, floodwater conveyance has been delayed for more than one and half years due to the continuous stay of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. So far, stage one of the project has been successfully completed with the stage two nearing completion.

Mr. Johnfiah said there was the need for collaboration between the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, the sector ministry in charge of KLERP and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, in charge of the Odaw Drainage System project to ensure that the to project were completed on time without one project impacting on the other.

The Ministry of Water resources, Works and Housing is in charge of KLERP while the Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, is in charge of the Odaw Drainage System project.

Mr Sakkie Le Roax, Project Manager, International Marine Dredging Company (IMDC), Consultants of the projects who received the delegation said there was a considerable amount of siltation build-up in the canals.

He said the desilting works were a critical priority and it was therefore, important that government put in place the necessary means to get the desilting campaign started.

He added: "The re-dredging works proposal to complete the KLERP project has been forwarded to the Ministry and was currently being evaluated".

Mr. Le Roax said the evacuation of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah was not only important to the project, but was also necessary because of the rains since the area was a low lying area that was prone to floods. "The Government of Ghana should not wait until disaster strikes," he said.

Mr Le Reux said with the support of the Government and the relevant authorities, the contractors would reach the goals as set out during the first feasibility studies of 1994 to make the area a tourist relaxing site.

The team later visited the Nkrumah Flats at Latebiokoshie, where Mr Johnfiah also the Member of Parliament for Ahanta West, called for the use of the excess space around the flats, to be used for the construction of affordable houses for workers.

He said in line with government's effort at providing affordable housing scheme for workers, sight should not be lost of the fact that there was still space for the construction of extra houses around the flats.

"The land has already been acquired and we need to make judicious use of it," he said.

The flats were built by Ghana's first President for the hosting of the members of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), but were later converted into living quarters for civil servants.

Mr Johnfiah said it was rather unfortunate that places such as the Nkrumah Flats had been left to deteriorate to such deplorable levels and urged the ministry to devise ways of maintaining such facilities either through private partnership schemes or outright sale of the units to sitting occupants. 29 May 06

Source: GNA