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12.01.2005 Regional News

$40.2 Million Petroleum Project Saga Deepens

By Radio Justice-Tamale
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Tamale, January 12, 2004 -- The controversy surrounding the construction of the Buipe-Bolgatanga petroleum pipeline project is deepening, following a warning issued to the firm executing the project, S.K Engineering and Construction Limited.

Communities along the construction area have warned workers of the firm to move away from the construction site or face the final consequences. The communities are Yipala, Chanpe, Zamzugu, Jabalpe, Kurubampe and surrounding communities, in the Central Gonja district of the Northern region.

President J.A. Kufuor last November cut sod for the commencement of the project last November. It is dubbed 'B2P3' and covers a distance of about 275 kilometres from Buipe in the Northern region to Blgatanga in the Upper East region.

The Bulk Oil Supply and Transport (BOST) Company of the Ministry of Energy is executing the project, which is being financed by the Korean government with 38-point-two million dollars and the rest by the government of Ghana. It is expected to be completed in November this year.

BOST would earn not less than five million dollars from the transaction and after completion it would benefit about 10 million dollars every year. But the communities have complained bitterly about the direction the project is taking, saying it would shut down their dam, which is their only source of drinking water.

Speaking to Radio Justice, the assembly member for Yipala Fuseini Iddi Soyije explained that if that happens the people would have to travel about six kilometers to Sankpala or Datoyili in Tamale to fetch water. This he said would affect the socio-economic lifestyle and development of the people. The communities' spokesperson said all attempts to persuade the authority in-charge to move the pipeline away from the dam to about fifty meters have proved futile. He indicated that the communities are already armed and if the company refuses and goes ahead with its plan, the people would have no option, but to attack the workers.

But the project Co-ordinator, Kaleem Abdallah Adam, said there was an agreement with the communities to divert the pipelines. Speaking to our reporter on his way to the site today/yesterday Mr. Adam noted that the assembly man was only trying to incite the people and not going by the agreement. He assured that no stone would be left unturned to solve the problem.

Meanwhile the Northern Regional police Commander, ACP Oko Brakatu has visited the communities and pleaded with them to remain clam as the problem is being solved.

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