Wage war against illegal structures

BY: Daily Graphic
Wage war against illegal structures
Wage war against illegal structures

Space is a key resource for development, for which reason a lot of effort is put in to ensure that it is used judiciously to meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to benefit from its use to meet theirs too.

The importance of planning our cities and towns to achieve the twin benefit of meeting the needs and aspirations of both the present and the future generations can, therefore, not be underestimated. In fact, city planning has been with man since time immemorial.

Archaeological findings point to well-planned cities and towns, even in eras when development and civilisation were low key, with evidence of clean, very organised settlements that can be the envy of any modern man.

Unfortunately for us, it is rather today, in the face of population explosion and very limited resources, that we have failed to ensure proper planning of our cities. This failure has led to our inability to extend pipe-borne water, electricity and access to our communities.

Security has also become a challenge, since the security agencies are not able to respond to crime in a timely manner because the lack of access roads hinders them from getting to crime scenes on time. Again, we suffer repeatedly from preventable natural disasters such as flooding. We have built so haphazardly and blocked water courses that the least rainfall that our towns and cities experience always leads to flooding.

As for poor sanitation arising out of poor planning, the least said about it the better. We are so overwhelmed by the challenges that we seem to have thrown our hands in the air in despair.

But the Daily Graphic thinks that the challenges we face as a country, arising out of poor planning, are largely self-inflicted.

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People erroneously think that they can arrogate any space to themselves, without taking into consideration the laws that govern land use. Even lands demarcated for development purposes are scrambled for by people, both rich and poor. While the rich misuse the lands for any structure or edifice they deem fit, the poor turn them into slums.

We would not mince words by laying the blame largely on the doorstep of our city authorities and the law enforcement agencies. Their lackadaisical attitude to their duties has resulted in many places in our cities becoming slums or being occupied by squatters.

Nevertheless, we are gladdened by the decision taken by the Ministry of Roads and Highways to demolish illegal structures situated within the right of way along the Tema Motorway for work on the three-tier Tema Motorway Roundabout Interchange project to continue.

But where were the authorities when all those illegal structures were being put up? The Daily Graphic supports every lawful means that will be employed to eject squatters and all those who have built illegal structures on lands that do not belong to them in various towns and cities across the country.

We think it is time we waged a sustained war against the unauthorised siting of structures to nip this indisciplined practice in the bud. And as we embark on such a project, we should crack the whip on those who neglected their duty for the situation to get to the level that we find it.

Very soon we will experience a similar situation along our rail lines when work in that sector also starts. We certainly cannot continue this way and make any headway in our development efforts.