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11.11.2005 Regional News

Stonebreaker urged to form associations

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Accra, Nov. 11, GNA - Stonebreakers have been urged to form identifiable associations to make it easy for the Government to extend assistance to them, as it is much easier to reach out to them through such groups than on individual basis.

Ms Rita Tani Iddi, a Deputy Minister in Charge of Mines at the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines, said this when she visited two stonebreakers' groups in the Greater Accra Region. They are the Ataa Kwame Stonebreakers Association at Pokuase and the Omanjo Stone Quarry, near Sowutuom. The Deputy Minister told the stone crackers that since the Government alone could not provide jobs, efforts such as theirs were most welcome.

Ms Iddi said the Government was even prepared to provide them with the appropriate tools and all other forms of aid they would need to ensure their safety and comfort. However, the Government could not do this effectively unless there was a reliable means of knowing their problems and the best way to achieve that was through recognizable bodies. The Deputy Minister reminded the stone crackers that they had to endeavour to always reclaim the land after they had carried out their activities.

She said as much as they needed to do their job in order to earn a living, they had to avoid degrading the land. The stonebreakers mentioned some of the problems they faced as very low returns they made from their labour since they did not have universally accepted prices.

They also said there were people who acted as their elders and made rules for them as they pleased.

The stonebreakers expressed the hope that the Ministry would meet with those leaders since they wielded a lot of power and were in a good position to carry out decisions. They also asked for Government's assistance in locating more places where they could do their work.

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