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24.11.2004 Regional News

MP questions companies rehabilitation programme

By GNA

Kenyasi (B/A) Nov. 24, GNA- Mr. Paul Okoh, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asutifi North on Tuesday spoke against the poor structures constructed at Ntotroso by the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited to resettle affected people due to the execution of the project.

If the buildings are really not kitchens but rooms to accommodate people, then it needs to be critically looked at well, he said. He was speaking at a forum organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess a proposed mining activity, its impact and mitigation measures by a company to decide whether or not to permit the development of a mine project at Kenyasi in the Asutifi District.

He asked the company to change its style of building and to construct proper and standard rooms for the affected people so that they would not regret for allowing the project to be located on their lands. The people must also benefit from the project so that they would appreciate its importance in their area, he added.

Mr. Okoh appealed to the company to fulfil its promises to the people and pay their compensations.

A 66-year-old woman, Madam Akuah Osaah of Yawusukrom apparently pleased with the Minister's statement on the bad structures walked through the crowd with the public looking on to where Mr. Okoh stood to address the community and shook his hand for showing concern about their plight.

The woman then walked back majestically to her seat amidst cheers and claps in support of her action.

Mr. Emmanuel Aubynn Community Relations Superintendent of the company stated that Negotiations Committee had been set up to pay compensations to all those who have lost their farms and properties in the area.

He said it was not the company's intention to put up those structures for resettlement but were being built according to the building legal law adding efforts were being made to correct and change the style of the structures to suit the people.

Mr. Aubynn said a lot of measures have been put in place to control noise and also monitor water sources to ensure that the lives of people living in the area are protected.

He said the company would support community development so that there would not be so much pressures on facilities in the area due to increase in population, adding that it would embark on local skill training programmes to create job opportunities, which could check social vices among the youth.

At the Forum a lot of the affected people complained about the nature of structures put up for them and delays in paying their compensations.

Mr Ernest Kofi Owusu, an Assemblyman for Antoa Odumasi Electoral Area and a representative of the Kenyasi Number one at the meeting emphasized that the company had indeed failed the people with all the promises such as job creation and improvement of infrastructure development in the area.

He appealed to the company to reconsider their decisions of not paying compensations to farmers who have fallow lands and pay all delayed compensations to the affected people.

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