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28.04.2004 Regional News

Yam Traders ask Volta Lake Transport Company to reduce fares

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Akosombo (E/R), April 27, GNA - The Leadership of Hausakope Yam Traders Association has petitioned the Management of the Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC) to reduce its recent increase in fares and to repair the MV Yapei Queen, which plies from Akosombo in the Eastern Region to Yeji in the Northern Region.

The traders led by Mrs Regina Mensah, the Queen Mother, Mr Daniel Sarbah, Secretary and Mr Samuel Asiehene, Welfare Officer, also accused the Management of VLTC of failing to carry out regular maintenance on the vessel.

They appealed to the Government and District Assemblies where the company operated to prevail upon the Management of VLTC to adopt preventive measures in their operations "as the constant break down of the vessel on the lake posed a great danger to lives and properties on board."

Responding to the accusation, Mr Agbemabiesse told the Ghana News Agency that even though the Company increased its fares for the transportation yams it was still far cheaper than other modes of transportation.

The new rates are Kete-Krachi to Akosombo 250,000 cedis per bin of about 500 tubers of yam; Yeji to Akosombo, 310,000 cedis and Hausakope to Akosombo 270,000 cedis.

Transportation of an empty bin, which was free, would now attract 10,000 cedis fare for all the routes.

Mr Agbemabiesse, who spoke to the GNA in the presence of Mr Edward A. Ababio, Liquid Cargo Manager, Mr Joseph Acquah-Baiden, Traffic Operations Manager and Mr Abudulai Iddirisu, Commercial Manager, denied the accusations made by the Traders that the VLTC did not maintain the vessel regularly.

He rather accused the Traders of using dilapidated and weak yam bins for loading; adopting unauthorised methods of shipment and preventing other traders from operating from their bases. Mr Agbemabiesse said the Company held periodic meetings with the Traders on operational problems and the outcome was the provision of additional barge during periods when greater volumes of yams were to be shipped to Akosombo.

He said: "We sometimes change the published sailing schedule to suit the Traders to the detriment of other users."

The VLTC Director of Finance and Administration said the Company had been responsible and remained the cheapest mode of transportation for produce from the lakeside communities to the business centres with tariffs as low as a third of other transport operators. He, therefore, appealed to the Traders to collaborate with the Management for peaceful trading activities. 27 April 04

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