Sunday, February 16, 2014

Unauthorised Structures Slow Down Construction Of Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla Road

The West Gonja District Assembly and the office of the Paramount Chief of Damongo have jointly served notice to occupants  on the wing of the Damongo township road to immediately evacuate and make way for ongoing construction work on the 147.5 kilometres Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla road to speedup else they risk losing their property.

Savannahnews gathered that, construction work on the Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla road which began early 2012 has slowed down and likely to stall due to the refusal by some individuals to move their property along the Damongo township road which is part of the contract.

construction work  ongoing in Damongo

The road, funded through a grant from the African Development Bank, is being constructed by Messrs China Waters and Electrical Corporation Limited and China Harbor and Engineering Limited who have up to thirty-six months to complete work.

About twelve months have already gone-by since construction work began and the contractor (China Waters and Electrical Corporation) working on the first lot of the road from Larabanga to Fufulso, is currently having it tough moving owners of temporal structures doing business along the main road of the Damongo township.

Several pleas and warnings from the two construction companies as well as the West Gonja District Assembly to occupants along the construction route to evacuate and make way for work to speedup have fallen on deaf ears, Savannahnews learned.

In view of this, the District Chief Executive for West Gonja Ali Bakari Kassim and the Paramount Chief of Damongo, Damongowura Tuntumba Jakpa Lermu II, have given owners of such temporal structures a two-week ultimatum beginning February 7, 2014 to immediately move their property otherwise by February 20, 2014 the Assembly will have no option than to use force to evict them.

On a recent visit to the construction site to assess progress of work so far, the DCE who was accompanied by the Damongowura and his Council of Elders lamented about the fact that, the same citizens who used to complain about successive governments failure to construct the road are sadly now thwarting efforts of contractors as well as the government to make their dream come through.

Damongowura interacting with Chinese contractor

According to Ali Kassim, the contractors have been given a time frame to work with and when citizens are refusing to reason with them and give way for work to speed up, it equally slows down the progress of their livelihood sources which will be boosted when work is completed on schedule.

On his part, the Damongowura who was furious about the adamant nature of people who have their structures close to the Damongo road, said anyone who defies the order given by the DCE will see the rough side of him on February 20, 2014.

The current condition of the Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla road is deplorable, leading to major consequences for mobility and economic activities. The bad condition of the road has slackened the pace of business considerably and limited the opportunity for trade and agricultural productivity. There is no practical, reasonable alternative to the Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla road for travelers to and from Tamale or Wa. All the fuel hauled from Buipe to the Upper West Region goes by this route in spite of its roughness.

The expected benefits of the project include the following: (i) Reduction in travel time and cost; (ii) Reduction in vehicle operating cost; (iii) Improved accessibility to markets and education/ health facilities; and (iv) Reduction of dust pollution.

The reconstruction of this road will benefit the population living in the project's area of influence as a result of increased access to markets for agricultural products, education and healthcare services. 

An all-weather Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla road will also reduce transport costs for both passenger and freight thereby contributing to poverty reduction. Furthermore, the reconstructed road will open up the project area and immensely improve accessibility to the major tourism sites including the Mole National Park, the Larabanga Mystic Stone, the Gonja Kingdom Regalia and the ancient Mosque at Larabanga which are all located in the project area.

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