Encroachers hamper work on Accra-Nsawam railway line

BY: Chris Nunoo
Mr Joe Ghartey (third left), Minister of Railways Development in a discussion with the acting Managing Director of the GRCL, Mr John Essel (left), during a tour of the Accra-Nsawam rail line. On the far right is Madam Elizabeth Sackey, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister
Mr Joe Ghartey (third left), Minister of Railways Development in a discussion with the acting Managing Director of the GRCL, Mr John Essel (left), during a tour of the Accra-Nsawam rail line. On the far right is Madam Elizabeth Sackey, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister

Rehabilitation works on the 40 kilometre Accra-Nsawam railway line which began about two weeks ago is facing a setback as the workers are confronted with filth, encroachment, litigations and general issues of indiscipline.

As a result, the work, which is being undertaken by the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL), is likely to delay due to these indiscriminate human activities.
This came to light when the Minister for Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, went on an inspection tour of the project last Wednesday.

Mr Ghartey, was accompanied by the Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Madam Elizabeth Sackey, some members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport and officials of the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA).

 

Tour

The tour, which started from Accra Central, took the team to the Kwame Nkrumah Overpass, Alajo, Dome and Amasaman.

It came up during the inspection that warnings to evict encroachers and squatters from designated areas around the rail lines had proved futile as individuals continued to engage in all sorts of vocations close to the rails.


At the railway station at Accra Central, for instance, it was revealed that the GRCL workers had to dig out volumes of garbage buried about two metres deep in the ground, to be able to lay the rail tracks.

The 200 feet stretch (100 on both sides), which will accommodate both standard and narrow gauge trains, is expected to be completed by November this year.

Briefing

During a briefing session, the Deputy Managing Director of the GRCL, Dr Micheal Adjei Anyetei, expressed disappointment at the activities of the squatters and encroachers and the delays the situation posed to the rehabilitation works.

“We have had instances where people dismantle the sleepers and clippings, with others engaging in activities close to the rail line despite several warnings and demarcations to ward them off,” he said and called for police protection to stop miscreants from interfering with the work.

Rail operations

Mr Joe Ghartey, for his part, said the government had engaged a South African railways company, Transnet, to supply about 24 coaches and 110 wagons to run the narrow gauge “when it begins operations later in the year.”

He expressed grave concern about the level of indiscipline among a section of the public and pointed out that the development of a modern rail system was critical for the economic growth of the country.

Earlier at a meeting with members of the Ga Traditional Council, opinion leaders and metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), Mr Ghartey called for their support for the success of the project and urged them to speak to their subjects and residents to adhere to the warnings.

He did not rule out the demolition of some structures along the rails, as well as the enforcement of rigid laws where necessary to facilitate the progress of the work.