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18.01.2007 Regional News

‘Decongestion Will Be Peaceful’

By Daily Graphic
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The Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri-Blankson, has given the assurance that the upcoming decongestion exercise of the central business district (CBD) and other parts of the city will be carried out in a peaceful and smooth manner, devoid of any attacks on recalcitrant traders.

He explained that what the assembly would do was to allow the law to deal with people who failed to vacate the streets and pavements of the CBD after the exercise.

Mr Adjiri-Blankson, who said this when he addressed a cross-section of the media at a press conference, stated that traders no longer had an excuse to remain in the CBD, since the assembly had provided the majority of them with the Pedestrian Shopping Mall.

He argued that although the mall could not cater for all traders selling within the CBD, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Kaneshie, there were more than 30 satellite markets in the city which those who did not get space at the mall could use.

“If you build a 30,000 capacity market for hawkers, another 40,000 more will troop to the streets to sell,” he said, adding that what the assembly would do would be to ensure that hawkers stayed permanently off the streets and pavements.

“We are resolute in our determination to move the petty traders and hawkers from the streets and pavements,” he stressed, explaining that if they were not removed now the nation's 50th Golden jubilee celebrations would suffer, since the hawkers generated tonnes of garbage and caused both human and vehicular traffic at the city centre.

Mr Adjiri-Blankson further stated that decongesting the city was one of the ways by which the AMA could establish a positive impression of Accra on the minds of the thousands of visitors who were expected in the country in March this year.

“This is one of the ways in which Accra can be mirrored as a modern metropolis where business can be conducted with ease and in a hassle-free manner,” he said.

The chief executive also touched on issues related to the January 20, 2006 clean-up exercise and solicited support from residents to actively participate in the exercise to ensure its success.

He said Zoomlion Waste Experts, a private waste management company, would be assisting the AMA with its pedal and motorised tricycles and appealed to other waste management companies in the city to also support the exercise.

According to him, the AMA had stockpiled tools at the various sub-metro offices which individuals and groups could access for the exercise and added that assembly members were also expected to act as a rallying point for people in their areas.

Another issue which came up was the wearing of uniforms by commercial drivers and the embossment of identification numbers on taxis, initiatives which the assembly said it had postponed till February 1 to enable it to carry out further underground works.

Mr Adjiri-Blankson reiterated the need for residents of the metropolis to paint their buildings before March 6, saying that failure on the part of residents to comply with that order would give the AMA no other choice but to apply the sanctions prescribed by its bye-laws on such residents.

“I want to make a passionate appeal to residents to patronise the national flag and hoist them on top of buildings as a show of patriotism and love for their city and country,” he said.

A fresh warning was also issued to home owners who have converted places of convenience into living rooms to desist from the practice and provide their tenants with such facilities.

One question which came up was the construction of the Kaneshie Lorry Park which has been halted.

Asked what the AMA was doing about the situation, Mr Adjiri-Blankson explained that the AMA was not in charge of that lorry park but promised that it would follow up on it to ensure that it was completed.

Story By Naa Lamiley Bentil

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