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19.07.2009 Politics

Government to resolve all land issues relating to Bui Dam project- Veep

By gna
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Bui, July 19, GNA – Vice President John Dramani Mahama, at the weekend assured the chiefs of the Banda Traditional Area, that the Mills Administration would address their grievances over the acquisition of lands for the construction of the 622 million- dollar Bui hydro electricity project.

He said government would look decisively into their concerns and have them addressed in the shortest possible time.

Vice President Mahama said government would not allow the intense recrimination that characterised issues of land compensation over the Akosombo and Kpong dams to dog the Bui project, adding that the appointment of Mr Jabesh Amissah Arthur as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bui Power Authority was to foster co-operation with the traditional authorities.

The Vice President was addressing a durbar of the chiefs and people in the Tain District of the Brong Ahafo Region, as part of his working visit to the Bui dam site.

He was responding to claims by Okokyeredom Kwadwo Sito, Paramount Chief of the area, about attempts by some public officials to usurp his authority over land compensations.

Okokyeredom Sito observed that the traditional council has been “completely left out of all negotiations concerning land acquisition and other businesses related to the Bui dam construction”.

“As the sole owner of the land I should not be excluded or sidelined in any negotiations with regard to the construction of the dam. All lands in the Banda area were vested in the paramountcy and no individual or group of persons could leave the paramountcy in such important issues,” he said.

Vice President Mahama said the CEO received specific orders from the government to remove all flashpoints to ensure the successful execution of the project.

He said government would work to heal all rifts to ensure that maximum

co-operation existed between all the actors.
Issues of land compensations at Bui are three fold; replacement of property destroyed for the construction of the dam, recompense for economic items such as ruined farmlands and compensation of land belonging to the traditional council.

The Vice President assured the people that the government would honour agreements they reached with the previous government, drawing spontaneous applause.

Mr Mahama said the people of Banda and other traditional areas in the Tain District, who played significant roles in the party's success in the 2008 polls, would not be neglected.

He said unlike events that characterized the Akosombo dam construction, whereby communities around the plant were not provided with electricity decades after it was constructed, President Mills intends to ensure that surrounding communities around the Bui plant are first provided with the facility before other areas could have a share of it.

This he said was to ensure social justice and to bring about improved standards of living in under-served communities.

The project will also provide a 30, 000 hectare complimentary irrigation hub, to bolster agriculture practice in the area as a poverty reduction strategy and food security.

Vice President Mahama said Bandaman and Nsawkwa Secondary Schools would be provided with facilities that would enable their products compete with their counterparts in other schools.

He said government would also deal with the black fly, which was causing eye problems.

He expressed dissatisfaction about the pilfering of equipment belonging to Sinohydro, which include the lost of a tipper truck and a pick up belonging to the Chinese company executing the project, and called for the co-operation of the people for the successful execution of the venture.

Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, Regional Minister, said government was watching over the project with an 'eagle's eye', the implementation of the Bui project to ensure that it yield the intended dividends.

Mr Amissah Arthur promised to use his stewardship to mend all frosty relationship with the traditional council.

“If in the past we have not consulted enough, it was an oversight,” he said

GNA

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