Angry residents of Akyem – Manso near Akyem – Oda in the Akroso – Manso – Asene District of the Eastern Region, have expressed their anger over sand-winning activities in the community.
The residents have accused their chief, Obrempong Sintim Poku III, who doubles as the Benkumhene of the Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area for allegedly being behind the illegal sand – winning in the area.
The Mmrantehene of Akyem – Manso, Kwadwo Boateng, who is leading a community crusade against the chief said the illegal mining and sand winning practices have caused degradation of farmlands, pollution of water bodies and put a lot of farmers out of business.
According to him, the chief is giving 'cover' to a certain man who is illegally doing mining and sand winning for the past three years without permit from the Assembly as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.
He claimed the sand winning activities has resulted in the spread of water-borne diseases and caused destruction to the biodiversity of the area.
He said they have made several reports to the Police for action but nothing seems to be done about it.
When Daily Guide visited the area over the weekend, many farmlands had been destroyed and water bodies polluted as a result of the sand winning activities.
Some residents claimed that their lands have been damaged and rendered unproductive, while beautiful landscapes that offer pleasant sceneries have been ruined.
A Unit Committee Member in the area said the situation is getting out of hand and the regulatory authorities should step in without any further delay.
Obrempong Sintim Poku III when contacted denied the allegations against him.
According to him, the person behind the mining is operating with a permit, adding that he only gave him the green light to mine on the stool lands and not individuals lands as the residents claimed.
The chief said the crusaders led by the Mmrantehene are working for a faction in a chieftain dispute in the town and they are being sponsored by a rival chief to smear him.
However, when contacted , the Akroso Manso Arsene District Chief Executive, Alex Incoom, said he is not aware the miner has permit for his activities.
He stated categorically that the assembly does not have any knowledge about sand winning in the community and said the DISEC will soon meet on the matter and invite the chief and the affected farmers to hearing of the matter and take the necessary actions on it.