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19.08.2005 Regional News

JAK’s press confab stirs mixed reactions in E/R

Chronicle
JAK’s press confab stirs mixed reactions in E/R

Koforidua, Chronicle -- After the president met the press recently at the seat of government, the Castle, Osu, majority of the residents in the Eastern Region passed a lot of comments on it.

Most of the residents think the reporters' questions did not touch on the economy. Some of the commentators had expected the journalists to ask the President, H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor when the government would pass the national disability bill that would seek the welfare of the disabled, instead of focusing their attention on the “controversial Hotel Kufuor issue.”

The commentators were picked at random by this reporter, in and around Koforidua a week after the president had met the press. Others called at the paper's office to comment on the issue.

Mr. Yaw Oppong, a transport unionist at Koforidua, said he was expecting the press to ask the president to tell all how many kilometers of road had seen bitumen, to reduce accidents in the country since he took office.

Accordingly, majority of the roads in the country were unmotorable and causing a lot of accidents, so the government must pay attention to them.

Opanin Kwadwo Asare, a farmer in Suhum, said if he were a journalist, he would have asked the president what the government was doing to re-claim the abandoned silos of the cocoa service in the bush.

On the telephone, Mr. Frimpong who described himself as an environmentalist, said the president should have been asked why the re-a forestation programme is not taking serious effect in the eastern region and some part of the Ashanti region where Fulani herdsmen were destroying the forest with their cattle.

It would be recalled that, the president, in his first address to the nation, promised to revive the railway transport service.

Madam Stella Nyarkoa asked “why didn't the press ask president Kufuor why he ha not been able to rehabilitate the Accra to Kumasi via Koforidua railway lines, to reduce most of the road accidents in the country.”

When this reporter went to inspect the railway line from the Koforidua railway station to Asuo Yaa and to Jumapo, he discovered that weeds had covered the lines.

Other communities where the railway lines passed had been turned into a refuse dump by residents. A typical example was the Koforidua railway station where the rail line had been turned into a refused dump, which had become a sky scraper towering above some nearby houses.

What is worrying most of the residents around the rail line is that, people come from beyond their houses to dump their refuse there, creating poor sanitation for them.

The Chronicle discovered during the inspection that, most of the structures of the Ghana Railway Corporation (GRC) at Oyoko, Jumapo and other cocoa growing towns and villages in the region, had been abandoned in the bush.

Another clear example was the staff bungalow for the Oyoko cocoa station portion of the rails, which had been taken over by weeds and reptiles, since no one was occupying it.

The paper discovered also that, most of the silos attached to the railway station had been abandoned and taken over by weeds and reptiles. These abandoned silos were to ease transportation of cocoa beans from the rural areas to the harbor for export to earn foreign exchange.Yet since the railway system ceased operating they were also not functioning as expected.

Madam Stella Nyarkoa appealed to the president to do whatever he could to re-habilitate the railway lines to revive the rail transport system in the country. She observed that if the government re-habilitated the rail line, it would create employment for a lot of the people in the transport business.

Additionally, she observed that it would encourage most of the youth to go into farming, especially growing cash crops like cocoa, mangoes, pineapples, oranges and many more, which they would transport for foreign exchange.

When contacted, the eastern regional chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr. Thomas Brentuo disagreed that most of the questions asked by the reporters were not important.

He noted that the president touched on every aspect of the administration of the country's administration in his address, which was loaded.

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