Bongo (U/E), June 7, GNA - The people of Bongo on Sunday turned out massively to welcome Vice President Aliu Mahama and his entourage to their District, in appreciation of the socio-economic progress they had witnessed since 2001.
Thousands of men and women from all corners of the District followed and cheered as Vice President Mahama toured their communities to inspect on-going projects and interact with the people.
The projects included a 7.5 kilometre Bongo-Sambolgo road, being financed with the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Fund at 1.7 billion cedis, the District Police Station, which costs 1.06 billion cedis, and a three-storey block of flats being put up to serve as residence for staff of the Bongo Community Rural Bank.
Vice President Mahama also inaugurated a children's ward for the Bong District Hospital, where he commended the staff for their sacrifices and urged them to take advantage of the Government's special package in the form of accommodation and motorcycles for medical staff in rural areas.
Later at a grand durbar where cultural groups took turns to entertain the guests with some outstanding performances, a representative of the Paramount Chief of Bongo, John Soore Adombire, explained that the excitement in the people was a sign of gratitude for "the inexhaustible list of projects undertaken since 2001".
The Chief mentioned the provision of many classroom blocks, accommodation for teachers, potable water, street lights for the Bongo township, toilet facilities, an ear clinic, nurses' quarters, the Bongo Rural Bank, among other projects.
"By the end of the year, 90 boreholes fitted with hand pumps are scheduled to be completed", he said and added "we have all seen the good work the Government is doing in an atmosphere devoid of intimidation and harassment".
He appealed to the Government to ensure that an Office Complex being constructed for the Ghana Education Service was speedily completed, while action was expedited on the Bolgatanga-Bongo trunk road.
The Chief pledged to maintain the peace in the area in collaboration with the security agencies. Vice President Mahama thanked the people for their sense of gratitude, saying he was overwhelmed by their tumultuous welcome. "This certainly shows your interest and appreciation of the Government and we will keep faith with you", he said.
Vice President Mahama announced that from the next academic year, basic education would be free in the District.
The Bongo Senior Secondary School, he said, had been selected for upgrading into a model institution in line with the Government's policy to deliver quality education at the doorstep of rural communities. He urged them to utilize quality education as the key to poverty alleviation and the sustainable development of the area. A special credit scheme of 132 million cedis and four irrigation dams, he said, would be provided to boost farming activities in the District.
Vice President Mahama said the contractor working on the 15 kilometres Bongo-Bolgatanga road would be tasked to speed up adding that Bongo Township roads would be tarred.
He announced that the Bongo District Hospital would be upgraded to befit the status of a modern health institution.
Vice President Mahama's entourage included Mr Andrew Awuni, a Deputy Minister of Information and NPP parliamentary candidate for Election2004; Bongo, Hajia Alima Mahama, Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiative, Mr Joe Akudibilla, Deputy Minister of Defence, Madam Hawa Yakubu, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central.
The visit formed part of a week outreach programme of the Vice President, aimed at eliciting the views of the people at the grassroots level to inform the formulation of national policies and programmes.