Regional News of Thu, 31 Oct 20130

Encroachers take over Ho airstrip

The proposed land for the Ho airstrip is fast becoming a residential area.

Some individuals and institutions have encroached on the restricted land, under the care of the 66 Artillery Regiment in Ho.

The about 1,034.02 hectares of land area has become a ‘hot cake’ for developers, with people said to be bankers and public servants trooping to the area daily to acquire building plots.

Some communities and schools have sprung up in and around the airstrip, raising doubts of the dream of the area becoming an airport.

Mr Awudu Kadri, Secretary, Abuhuskad Company Limited, a firm developing lands for sale in the area, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that he had lawful documents from the Lands Commission.

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He claimed they shared boundaries with the airstrip and that they were not encroaching on the airfield.

Mr Kadri said his Company had reserved a 100 metre- buffer between the airfield and his area to avoid encroachment.

Mr Ayito John, a resident in one of the communities which had sprung up in the area, said they were aware of the demarcation of the area for an airport and said his family would relocate if government was ready for the project.

He said about 20-years-ago, some people came and counted houses around and reminded them of the construction of the airstrip.

Schools located in the area claimed they had clearance from the Ho Municipal Assembly and have legal documents from the Lands Commission.

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Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Abas Seidu, Commanding Officer of the 66 Artillery Regiment said the individuals and institutions were staying there illegally and would be “cleared” anytime soon.

“They will be cleared soon. I am warning them that one day, the Military will just take a bulldozer and pull down all structures in and around the airfield,” he said.

Col. Lt. Abas said he wrote to the Lands Commission to suspend processing of land documents for people seeking to acquire the area, but received no response.

He said the Ho and Kete-Krachi airstrips were dully acquired by government and paid for, and warned trespassers to keep off those areas because government intends to develop all airstrips into airports.

When the GNA contacted Mr Gershon Quamie Tsrah, Volta Regional Lands Commissioner, he said though his office had not received any letter from the 66 Artillery, the Commission was not processing any land document for that area and that any physical structure in or around the airstrip was illegal.

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He explained that there was no scheme for the area yet, so his outfit could not give permit for the putting up of structures.

Mr Quamie Tsrah said government, however, has to acquire and pay for the airstrip extension because it only acquired and paid for the “main” site and not the extension.

The main Ho airstrip could best be described as a deserted area and had become home to wild animals and reptiles.

The runway at the airstrip is still visible and people usually use it for driving lessons.

Source: GNA

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