Demolishion of private properties has begun at Asokwa to pave way for the construction of the Anloga-Asokwa (Timber Gardens) bypass in Kumasi.
When the Daily Graphic team went to Asokwa last weekend they saw a bulldozer briskly demolishing some of the properties which were along the area where the bypass is to be constructed.
The Anloga- Asokwa bypass project is being jointly funded by the government and international donors to improve upon the road network as well as ease traffic congestion in Kumasi.
Woodworkers at Anloga have been asked to relocate to the Sokoban Wood Village but recently some carpenters at the area have vowed to resist attempts by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to relocate them at the village until certain conditions are met.
Calling themselves the Concerned Carpenters of Anloga, they said unless the authorities did the right thing to facilitate the operations of all affected carpenters, they would not move from their present site.
But the Metropolitan Urban Roads Engineer, Mr James Amoo-Gottfried, said nothing would stop the authorities from strictly enforcing the timetable for the relocation of the carpenters at Sokoban this week.
The KMA Chief Executive, Ms Patricia Appiagyei, last week announced that the movement to the new site would commence this week.
She said work at the Wood Village was almost complete for occupation and urged the carpenters to comply with the order to move there and pave the way for the construction of the Oforikrom Junction-Asokwa bypass.
Reacting to the order in a protest note to the KMA Chief Executive, the Concerned Anloga Carpenters claimed that the authorities had not done much to facilitate their smooth movement to the new place.
Following the government's decision to reconstruct the Oforikrom Junction-Asokwa bypass, the Department of Urban Roads decided on the Sokoban Village to relocate the Anloga carpenters.
Consequently, the construction of the Sokoban Wood Village was factored into the road project and undertaken with funds from the Agence Francaise de Developement (AFD). Under that project, a number of facilities were constructed at the village to improve conditions there for the carpenters to move in.
In their protest, the concerned carpenters claimed that not all carpenters who were being asked to leave their current places had been provided for at the Sokoban Village.
According to them, only 300 out of over 1,500 members of the Anloga Woodworkers Association had been provided places at the Sokoban Village.
They contended that more than 1,200 others called "master-boys" had been left out, yet they were being asked to leave their places at Anloga.
The master-boys are those who have completed their apprenticeship programmes and who, even though are masters, are working in the shops of their former master craftsmen.
According to the concerned carpenters, any attempt to deny the master-boys a place to work will mean throwing them out of work.
Again, they complained that nothing had been done about an earlier decision by the government to pay them some amount of money to convey their tools and equipment from their workshops to the Sokoban Village.
Commenting further on the situation, Mr Amoo-Gottfried said the Oforikrom Junction–Asokwa bypass was one road which had necessitated the relocation of the Anloga carpenters and was being carried out within a time frame which should not be derailed.
He confirmed that not all the carpenters at Anloga had been catered for at the Sokoban village, explaining that even some of the master craftsmen could not be allocated sheds at the village and that only those whose activities were affected by the road design had been provided places.
The metropolitan engineer stated that the relocation was part of the compensation for the affected carpenters and that it would be wrong for any group of carpenters to force the KMA to find a place for them at the wood village.