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18.04.2006 Regional News

Yawkoi women abandon market to trade on the roadside

By GNA

Yawkoi, (Ash), May 18, GNA - Notwithstanding recent media reports of fatal accidents involving people trading along roadsides, a group of market women have abandoned a market and erected sheds along the Accra-Kumasi highway at Yawkoi near Juaso in the Asante Akim South district of the Ashanti region.

A large pit just behind where the women have erected their sheds coupled with the danger that over-speeding vehicles on the major highway pose to their safety is increasingly attracting public concern. But the women, mainly foodstuff sellers, have persistently thwarted efforts by the District Assembly to return to the market. When the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the market, a few metres from the highway, not even a single stall was occupied, even though they had all been rented out to the women by the Assembly for which they pay their monthly toll but not for the last two months.

Mrs Akosua Amoakoa, spokeperson for the women, said they were trading in the market until a gutter created in front of the market in the course of the rehabilitation of the highway, rendered it inaccessible. She said the women and some youth in the town had to block a road leading to the quarry site of the contractors to demonstrate before they constructed three separate slabs over the gutter.

According to Mrs Amoakoa, the slabs could not solve the problem since it is their practice to rush to the roadside whenever prospective customers stopped, adding that some of them got injured in the process due to the narrow slabs.

She said the situation left them with no other option than to move to the roadside after all their calls for the gutter to be covered through the Assembly were not heeded to.

The spokes-person, however, admitted the dangers associated with being at the roadside and expressed their preparedness to revert to the market should their concerns be addressed.

Dr Lord Justice Gyamfi Fenteng, DCE for Asante Akim South, when contacted, rejected the women's demand describing it as unfounded. He alleged that they rather preferred to be at the other side of the road where vehicles on their way to Accra patronized their wares than those heading towards Kumasi.

He said the assembly had no immediate plans to eject them but would do so when the need arose.

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