Accra, Feb. 23, GNA - An inspection of works on the Odaw Drainage Project in parts of Accra on Wednesday by Mr Charles Bintin, the new Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, revealed that only 35 per cent of the third phase of the project has been completed. The Contractor - Messrs Interbeton B. V. from the Netherlands - is behind schedule, as he should have completed 50 per cent of work by the end of this month.
The delay is blamed on the inability of the Sector Ministry and Land Valuation Board to evaluate and pay for properties situated along the project area and marked for demolition.
Mr Nesar Chowdhury, Resident Project Manager, who works for SNC LAVALIN, a Canadian Consulting Company, told the Minister that but for the delay in the valuation and the payment to property owners, the 50 per cent would have been completed.
When he took the Minister round parts of the project at Apenkwa, Abelenkpe and Avenor, all in Accra, Mr Chowdhury said the rains had also played a part in delaying the project.
The effect of the delay on the part of the Ministry and the Valuation Board was that the Contractor had had to begin the project upstream instead of downstream of the Odaw River and this was creating difficulties.
Moreover, polythene and sachet water wastes embedded in the land have compelled the Contractor to adopt a different method of plastering other than constructing a double layer of side walls to protect the drains if the soil was to erode.
Mr Bintin promised to immediately meet with the Valuation Board this week and subsequently pay compensation for work to progress as scheduled.
Under the ongoing Accra Drainage Improvement Project work, 24 secondary drains of 58.712 kilometres stretch were designed with a 15-year flood flow frequency.
This is in addition to the 7.2-kilometre major drain of the Odaw River stretching from the Motorway to Abossey Okai Bridge, near Kaneshie in Accra.
Contractors working on the different phases of the project, including Interberton, had chosen reinforced concrete rectangular and trapezoidal channel section design in order reduce resettlement, acquisition of land and partial demolition of permanent structures. Hydraulic study indicates that the channel when completed would have enough capacity to take care of a flood 38-year return period provided de-silting and cleaning is taken up periodically.
The third phase of the Odaw Drain Project under Interbeton BV begins from Alajo Bridge to Apenkwa Overpass at the Motorway Extension at a cost of 15.7 million Euros.
The Dutch government is funding 35 per cent of the project, 60 per cent by an Economic Commission of Africa covered loan and five per cent by the Ghana Government.
Mr Godfred Ewool, Director of Urban Development Projects at the Ministry, who accompanied the Minister, told Journalists that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly needed about 50 per cent subsidy of the amount required to clear filth from drains and other parts of the city on a sustainable basis for two years.
He said a key solution to ensure that the construction of the drains were effective was maintenance, which was lacking.
The Director said the Ministry in collaboration with the Metropolitan Authority received a 300,000-dollar support last year to clear filth in the Abossey Okai portion of the drains but the situation had occurred again.
Floods in Accra seem to be like a long forgotten menace hence the habit to fill the drains with garbage, he said, adding that the Ministry had an engineered landfill site design to solve the city's waste management problem but could not implement it because of the resistance of a few people.