Bolgatanga, Feb. 10, GNA - Fire gutted the central stores of the Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR) at Tono near Navrongo on Wednesday, destroying property estimated at about 3.2 billion cedis. Items burnt were mainly stationery and spare parts for tractors and other heavy-duty equipment.
The outgoing Regional Minister Mr. Mahami Salifu, and his successor, Mr. Boniface Gambila, visited the scene in the company of the Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Roy Ayariga and the Deputy Regional Police Commander, Mr. Samuel Wudah. Briefing them on the disaster, the Deputy Managing Director of ICOUR, Mr. Thomas Sumboh, said staff of the company spotted the fire in one of the containers at the central stores at about 0900 hours and raised an alarm. He said the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) at Navrongo was called in but it became clear that they could not handle the situation so another fire tender was brought from the regional office of the GNFS in Bolgatanga.
"By the time the Bolgatanga team arrived the fire was almost out of control," he added, and attributed the cause of the disaster to a possible electrical fault.
As to whether the place was insured or not, Mr. Sumboh stated that he was aware of an insurance cover for the Company's silos and stores but could not tell whether the insurance policy had been renewed upon expiry. He expressed sorrow that the incident had come at a time the tractors were engaged in full time land preparation for ICOUR's major peak cropping season. "With the spare parts destroyed we envisage a problem if any of the tractors should breakdown now," said the Deputy Managing Director.
He, therefore, appealed to the government and other public-spirited organizations to assist the company to enable it to procure spare parts to sustain its operations during the current dry season. In his comments, Mr. Gambila noted that ICOUR had a lot to learn from Wednesday's disaster because from every indication the Company was not adequately prepared to respond timely to emergencies. "Considering the nature of the Company's operations as a major rice producer for the nation you should have in place numerous fire extinguishers and a permanent fire tender on stand-by at the project site," he noted.
Mr. Salifu on his part urged the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and non-governmental organizations to assist the Company overcome its loss, saying that any resources donated to ICOUR was in deed a big help to the people of the Upper East.