31.07.2006 Business & Finance

10.4 million euros for relocation of Sodom and Gomorrah

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Parliament has approved over 10.4 million euros for additional environmental and sanitation works, involving the relocation of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP) area to a new site at Adjin Kotoku, near Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region.

The Korle Lagoon Ecological project was earmarked for completion in December 2003 but is still not completed because of a number of reasons among which is the need to remove an entire community of over 50,000 people from Sodom and Gomorrah to another area.

A report of a joint Committee on Finance and Works and Housing said the presence of these settlers at Sodom and Gomorrah was interfering with the KLERP work.

It said the 10,494,000.00 million euro agreement between Ghana and a Belgian bank for the proposed relocation of the settlers would make it possible for the city authorities to improve upon the environment in the KLERP area.

The report said 89 million dollars that the Ghana government had already sunk into the Korle Lagoon project would be saved, if the settlers were relocated to another place.

"The site for the relocation of the new settlement is located by an exiting railway station - Adjin Kotoku, which is at the junction of Accra-Kumasi and Accra-Takoradi rail lines, an obvious advantage."

"The committee observed that the resettlement site at Amasaman would meet the commercial interest of the settlers as city authorities are already developing a bulk breaking site for the food stuffs from the regions," the report added.

The committee however touched on concerns that the resettlement project did not include the provision of housing for the settlers and this could lead to a similar deplorable situation at the new site.

The report said it was explained that government would only provide basic social amenities such as water and electricity because of lack of funds besides a survey conducted showed that on the average the settlers could afford single rooms, when relocated.

The report gave a breakdown of the loan and said 3.5 million euros would be used to provide physical infrastructure such as water and sanitary facilities and 2.5 million euros would go into social infrastructure such as security, market and transport terminal at the new site.

The house also approved the report of the committee on a credit agreement between Ghana and KBC Bank NV of Belgium for an amount of 18.8 million euros for the maintenance, desilting and dredging works on the KLERP including the construction of a treatment plant.

The purpose of the credit facility is to support the efforts of government to restore the Korle Lagoon to its former ecological state as well as improve the city's drainage and flooding problems.

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