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Birim North takes lead in drones use, To fight illegal mining, chainsaw operators

BY: Haruna Wumpini, New Abirim
The drone on display at the forum
The drone on display at the forum

The Birim North District Assembly in  the Eastern Region has taken the lead in the application of drones to deal with  illegal miners and chainsaw operators in the district.

With this new technology, any illegal chainsaw operator or illegal miner will be located in any part of the district which is mostly covered by dense forest.

Flight

The drone was experimented on the  premises of the district assembly’s building at New Abirim, the district capital, on March 27.

It flew upwards and encircled the area which is also a forest zone and later landed on  the  ground amid cheers from the assembly members and the chiefs.

DCE speaks

The District  Chief Executive (DCE) for the Birim North District Assembly, Mr Remond Nana Damptey, who later addressed the gathering said the application of the new technology was timely since the area was forested, making it difficult to locate those nation wreckers.

“I’m happy to inform you that the assembly has been provided with a drone with two NABCO officials trained to operate them in the district; and I am introducing to you assembly members, the drone pilots.

I, therefore, wish to appeal to the assembly members and the chiefs to cooperate fully with the crew when they visit your communities to gather data,” he said.

Mr Damptey said the drone could also help monitor and deal with the  illegal loggers and miners in the forest reserves.

According to him, the decision to use drones to fight illegal mining activities was part of the government’s strategy to effectively clamp down on illegal miners whose activities had destroyed many farmlands and polluted water bodies.

“These sound-free drones are invisible when they are up in the air and can zoom down to about five metres even at a height of about 3,000 kilometres.

It can do a lot of things and is very complex,” he said.

Mr Damptey appealed to assembly members to cooperate with the pilots of the drones to ensure quality work.

Vision

 Touching on his vision for the district, Mr Damptey appealed to members and staff of the assembly to support him to promote the aspirations of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to improve the lot of the people.

According to him, it was only when they joined hands that they could work to improve the living standards of the people in the district.

Road network

On the issue of road network, Mr Damptey said it remained a major challenge which the assembly was effectively dealing with.

He, however, said the assembly, in 2018, reshaped most of the roads in the area, adding that his outfit was making efforts to reconstruct the New Abirim–Nkawkaw stretch in order to make it passable at all times.

Electricity  

Concerning electricity supply to communities, Mr Damptey indicated that the Member of Parliament (MP) for New Abirim, Mr John Osei, had extended the facility to 21 communities, including Bramkrom, Addokrom, Amanfokrom, Abohema and Dodowraso.

Revenue

Regarding the assembly’s Internally Generated Fund (IGF), Mr Damptey stated that they had mobilised more revenue to undertake additional development projects and programmes.

He explained that the assembly had collected GH¢4,908,696.45 as revenue out of the projected target of GH¢3,931,747.63 from local sources.

“The reason for our success is our ability to revalue some commercial and private properties in the district, which was not done in the past.

For instance, Newmont Golden Ridge Company Limited was paying property rate tax without any scientific basis because their properties were not valued,” he stated.