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09.12.2005 Regional News

Cement company supports Assembly to accommodate personnel

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Aflao, Dec. 9, GNA - The Diamond Cement Ghana Limited (DCGL) at Aflao is to support the Ketu District Assembly with 500 bags of cement to put up a building to house the Police District Police Headquarters at Aflao. Currently the District Police personnel operate at a small rented house.

Mr Justice Cudjoe, Ketu District Chief Executive (DCE) announced this on Thursday at a durbar to handover four out of five houses built by the DCGL for the resettlement of the inhabitants of Gbagblakope, a five-household community that is closest to the company's cement plant. Leaders of the community had been complaining about cement dust pollution, which they claimed was affecting their health. The two-bedroom and a hall houses with detached places of convenience and a kitchen cost 80 million cedis each. The fifth house is nearing completion.

Mr Cudjoe said the company had also agreed to co-finance the drawing of base-plan covering areas around the factory to Hatsukope, defining an industrial zone and other demarcations. He said this would save the fast developing area from degenerating into a slum as the old Aflao town.

The DCE called for dialogue in the resolution of problems related to the DCGL's operations, saying that the company was important in the socio-economic life of the district and the area. He said contract for the construction of the road linking the DCGL to Aflao would be re-awarded soon for early completion. The DCGL recently donated another 500 bags of cement to the Keta Divisional Command of the Police for the renovation of police stations under the command.

Mr Anthony Baokye, Senior Marketing Officer, Tema Steels, Subsidiary of DCGL, in a welcome address said the resettlement was done for reasons of safety, but maintained that the company's pollution levels were within accepted limits.

Togbe Akliku Ahorney, Volta Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the inability of the district authorities to demarcate and document the factory area, as a designated industrial area, was a fundamental error.

He said DCGL, contrary to complaints and media reports, was operating well environmentally, even below the 70 microgram per cubic meter permissible emission level, set it by the EPA, which also negotiated the resettlement.

Togbe Ahorney said the DCGL was among a number of elite establishments listed as tourist sites, by the EPA. Togbe Fiti Amenya V, Paramount Chief of the Aflao Traditional Area said development would always bring up conflicts of interest, which should be settled amicably.

Mr Chitti Babu, General Manager of DCGL later told the GNA in an interview that he hoped the resettlement of the Gbagblakope community would put to rest the complaints about pollution from the DCGL plant, promising that his company would always maintain a prudent environmental policy. 09 Dec. 05