Ministry must remove bottlenecks to railway redevelopment

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
Ministry must remove bottlenecks to railway redevelopment
Ministry must remove bottlenecks to railway redevelopment

Movement of goods and services is one facet of human endeavour that is carried out daily in all parts of the world. This is done through road, rail, water and air transport.

Such movement of goods and services ensures that human development does not grind to a halt.

While road transport is the main form of movement of goods and services, railway services constitute a major form of transport in many jurisdictions as they offer a cheaper and faster service to patrons. For this reason, countries have invested huge sums of money in a bid to improve on their rail system.

In view of the importance of rail services to the development of the country, Ghana has devoted the attention to revamp the current poor state of rail transport in the country.

In the days when the Ghana Railway was very active in the provision of rail service, many, particularly traders and students, benefited from it. Indeed, it brought distant towns closer to mainstream cities and helped to greatly improve commerce.

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The Daily Graphic recalls the joy with which Ghanaians received the construction of the first segment of the Accra-Tema railway line with funds partly from external loans and money from the HIPC Funds in 2007 by then President John Agyekum Kufour.

Again, when two diesel multiple units, ordered from China CNR Corporation Tangshan Plant, ushered in a shuttle service from Accra to Asaprochonaa (near Tema) in 2008 and in October 2010, when then President John Evans Atta Mills inaugurated the diesel engine train service for the re-constructed Accra-Tema rail network, there was great hope that the rail service, which had become dormant, was on its way to revival.

Such was the joy of the travelling public, especially those who had to shuttle between Accra and Tema daily, that many expected that by this time, the rail service will be offering a significant number of the travelling public invaluable service at very moderate cost.

But this was not to be. About three weeks ago, the government began the rehabilitation of the 40-kilometre Accra-Nsawam railway line in earnest.

During a project tour by the Minister of Railway Development within the week, it came to light that the work was being impeded by some human activities such as encroachment, filth, litigation and general indiscipline.

As a result of these human activities, the work, being undertaken by the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL), it was learnt, is likely to delay.

The Deputy Managing Director of the GRCL, Dr Michael Adjei Anyetei, told the minister and his team that despite several warnings and demarcations to ward off encroachers, the rail tracks had been encroached upon, making construction work very difficult.

We urge the ministry to take a serious view of these challenges and not to treat these encroachers with kid gloves. They must take the necessary measures to evict the encroachers to ensure a smooth rehabilitation of the system.

The services provided by railway stations, and the system as a whole, constitute a major attraction around which towns develop and nothing must, therefore, be put in the way of any effort to revamp the service.

The time has come for all to respect state authority and refrain from omissions and commissions that have the tendency to draw the nation’s development backward.