Trespassers and encroachers occupying the land and other property of the Ghana Railways Company Limited (GRCL) will not be compensated when work on the rail lines begin, the Minister of Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, has stated.
He has, therefore, advised such trespassers to vacate the premises in their own interest.
Mr Ghartey made this known in an interaction with journalists, after he had held a meeting with Transnet International Holdings, a South African rail and logistics organisation in Cape Town, South Africa, last Thursday.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to revive the railway sector and stressed that the activities of encroachers and trespassers could not obstruct the process.
“When we start building the rails people will begin to appreciate and start moving but I must confess we have to negotiate it. It is a step by step approach and so I see most of our work from this year and next year to be community relations,” he added.
Mr Ghartey led a team from the GRCL and the Ghana Railways Development Authority to South Africa to push a partnership between the GRCL and Transnet International Holdings, a step further.
The partnership was brokered by Adasa Keteke Company Limited, the local partners of Transnet International Holdings, and it is expected to revive the GRCL to operate and manage the railway industry in Ghana.
The minister, however, explained that a lot of the rail network which would now be on newly acquired lands, would be costed to be part of the cost of the project.
To that end, he said, the government would compensate the land owners which he said included the Tema– Mpakadan rail line in the Akwamu area.
Mr Ghartey, who expressed optimism about the agreement between the GRCL and Transnet, said: “The impact of what we are doing was totally transformational because we have not even started the actual work and people are already writing to us telling us they want to move gas and petroleum products by rail.”
Touching on the Ghana to Burkina Faso lines, he said “the Ghana to Burkina line has 14 companies expressing interest in Ghana with eight companies expressing interest in Burkina Faso.”
He said the eastern line was also on course with 36 out of 45 companies shortlisted.
He stressed the importance of safety issues in the operation of rail lines and said the ministry would make safety matters a major priority.
Sharing his impressions after the tour of the Transnet facilities, the acting Managing Director of GRCL, Mr John Essel, said: “We are very confident that when these wagons, locomotives and coaches were delivered, the GRCL would see its past glories again.
He said the GRCL was hoping that both parties would stick to the timelines so that by September “we see first signs of the recovery of the railway network with support from Transnet.
“The company is going to be on its feet through the provision of the locomotives and the training of the manpower because if you get all the equipment and there are no competent people to maintain and handle them, then we would have done nothing,” Mr Essel said.