Saturday, April 19, 2008

Construction of Bui Dam affects 1,800 people

Story: Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
March 25, 2008

ONE thousand eight hundred people from seven communities in Brong Ahafo and some parts of the Northern Region will be affected by the construction of the Bui Hydro Electric Dam.
The social impact on the 1,800 people, who will be displaced by the project from three traditional areas, namely, Banda and Mo in Brong Ahafo and Bole-Bamboi in the Gonja Traditional Area in the Northern Region, will be minimal, since the areas are sparsely populated, compared with the Akosombo and Kpone areas where dams have been constructed.
Osahene Kwaku Aterkyi, the Omanhene of the Kukuom Traditional Area and Member of the Bui Development Secretariat, disclosed this at the official signing ceremony of the acquisition plan and reports which involved the secretariat and 32 land and environmentally related agencies and departments in Sunyani on Tuesday.
The government has acquired the 443,503 acres of land needed for the commencement of the construction of the Bui Dam, which will take five years.
He assured the people and the communities that would be affected by the project of adequate compensation, which he said would be paid promptly.
He said lessons had been learnt from the construction of the Akosombo and Kpong dams and that those would impact positively on the Bui Dam project.
Among the agencies and departments whose representatives appended their signatures were the Lands Commission, the Land Valuation Board, the Administrator of Stool Lands, Town and Country Planning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Volta River Authority (VRA).
Osahene Aterkyi explained that the signing of the acquisition plan and reports signified that the government had formally acquired the land under the State Lands Act of 1962 (Act 125) which ‘empowered the President, where it is in the public interest, to declare any land required in the public interest’.
He said 21 per cent of the Bui Game and Wildlife Reserve Park would be taken and another land would be provided to make up for what had been taken, adding that lands that had been acquired for the project consisted of both state and stool lands, saying that provision for prompt and adequate compensation had been made.
Mr Godfred D. Boateng, the Bui Secretariat Project Co-ordinator, reiterated that because pre-evaluation had been done, money had been set aside for prompt and adequate compensation.
He added that the Chinese government was also positioned to help in the resettlement and irrigation projects in order to make life comfortable for those who would be displaced to peacefully co-exist with the contractors for the smooth take-off of the project.
Nana Abraham Kwadwo Kwakye, the Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, who chaired the signing ceremony, in his remarks, called on the Bui Secretariat to ensure that all the knotty issues were resolved to guard against speculative activities which would give room for people to claim undue compensation.

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