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29.06.2004 General News

Three Volta Lake resettlement communities get power

By GNA

Kaira (V/R), June 29, GNA - Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Energy, on Monday commissioned a 6.2-billion-cedi electrification project for three communities, which were displaced during the construction of the Akosombo Hydro-Electricity Dam.

Kpalime-Kaira, Tongor-Ahor and Anlo-Tongor, all in the Kpando District, were the beneficiary communities.

Dr Nduom assured the residents at a mini-durbar that he would get the contractor who undertook the project to remove all high-tension lines passed over some houses and also remedy other structural defects. He also promised to facilitate the provision of electricity meters to homes, which were yet to have them.

The project was entirely funded by the Volta River Authority (VRA) Resettlement Trust Fund, which was established in 1996 to help alleviate some of the socio-economic problems facing communities displaced by the damming of the Volta Lake.

Dr Nduom expressed regret that power was made available to the areas rather late, after prolonged delay following the construction of Akosombo Hydro Dam. He, however, implored them to go beyond the cosmetic benefits of illumination by electricity and transform the economy of the area by establishing small-scale industries.

Dr Nduom said the availability of electricity should also put young people in schools and colleges in the area in better positions to excel in their academic pursuits, as there would be no more excuse to rush to bed in the night when others were learning.

He acknowledged that many of the over 1,100 electricity projects undertaken by the government were planned by or in some cases started by the previous government and gave the assurance that President John Agyekum Kufuor's government would execute all projects it planned or were in process before it assumed power.

"It is the people who benefit from these projects and not political parties", the Energy Minister said, stating that the wave of freedom and democratic tenets enjoyed in the country allowed for continuity in development even after change of governments.

Dr Nduom asked the VRA to collaborate with the District Assemblies to find solutions to some of the problems facing the resettlement communities.

Mr Pious Adanuti, Kpando District Chief Executive (DCE), appealed to the three communities to unite to bring development to the area, now designated as South-Dayi District.

He expressed regret that litigation over land was delaying the completion of a 240-stall market estimated to cost 940 million cedis at Tongor-Dzemeni, a popular marketing centre along the Lake.

Mr John Ahorsu, Assembly Member for the area, said it was a relief to the communities to be connected to the national grid about 40 years after they were displaced by the construction of the Akosombo Dam. He described the situation as a welcome "facelift" and appealed to the Volta Lake Resettlement Trusts Fund to facilitate the provision of potable water to the area.

Mr Fred Afful, Executive Director of the Trust Fund told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the Fund's programme for the 52 resettlements would be community driven.

He said projects such as schools, sanitation facilities and clinics, would be constructed for communities if they applied and satisfied the laid down regulations. 29 June 04

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