18.03.2005 General News

Demolition of unauthorised structures along rail lines to continue

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Accra, March 18, GNA - The Ministry of Railways, Ports and Harbour on Friday said it would go ahead to demolish all structures along railway lines when the ultimatum given to occupants expire. Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, the sector Minister on Friday warned persons collecting monies from traders to influence the demolition to desist from such acts.

He also asked traders to report persons who approached them for money to the police.

Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi who was speaking during a visit to the main terminal of the railway station at Kantamanto in Accra disclosed that he had received reports of some unscrupulous persons using his name to collect large sums of money to influence him on the demolition exercise. The tour was to afford the Minister the opportunity to look at the effects of some measures adopted by the Ghana Railway Company Limited to ensure orderliness and safety of the railway system.

Recently the Ministry gave an ultimatum to occupants of structures along railway lines to vacate by April to make way for rehabilitation of the rail lines.

The tour also afforded him the opportunity to see at first hand the operations of the Accra-Nsawam Rail Shuttle Service. Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi said the Company had begun to improve on its revenue collection hence the engagement of National Service personnel at the railway station.

"The engagement of security personnel on the coaches and at the station has also helped the company to check ticket racketeering thereby enhancing the revenue base of the company. "This shows that railway workers can even pay themselves with the recent measures adopted."

He noted that the company had relaxed on checking tickets, thereby creating a loophole in revenue generation.

The Minister said there was the need to get a set of supervisors to check on commuters who refused to pay for their tickets and people who hanged on the coaches.

He announced that three more coaches from Takoradi had been added to the existing ones to check congestion.

Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi said negotiations with United Rail of the United Kingdom for the rehabilitation of railway lines was going well and gave the assurance that government would always look out for the best for Ghanaians.

He expressed the hope that the Ministry would conclude negotiations with United Rail very soon to improve freight and commuters from Accra to other parts of the country.

Mr Jonathan Sam, Area Manager, Accra, who accompanied the Minister, said the company had enhanced its daily revenue base from 10 million cedis to 14 million cedis.

Mr Sam said the company had asked for the assistance of 10 police personnel to check commuters who boarded trains without tickets. He said with the introduction of additional coaches, the company would begin to refurbish the existing ones.

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