THE Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called on the Ghana Railway Authority (GRA) to be bold to remove all obstacles to the government’s effort at reviving the country’s railways.
Expressing concern about the massive encroachment of lands belonging to the GRA, the Asantehene said everything must be done to ensure that the commitment shown by President Mills to resuscitate the railway industry materialised.
Board members of the railway authority paid a courtesy call on the Asantehene in Kumasi to seek his support on how to get encroachers and squatters off the railway lands in Kumasi and to pave the way for the construction of the Kumasi-Paga, Accra-Kumasi and the Takoradi-Kumasi lines next year.
Asantehene condemned some staff members of the erstwhile Ghana Railways Corporation for illegally selling the lands and said such individuals must be brought to book.
“We should not condone illegality,” he said, stressing that no one had the right to allocate the lands to anybody.
He urged the railway authority to approach their activities in a “businesslike manner”.
“Looking at the quality of experience of the railway board, I have no doubt in my mind that you will deliver,” he added.
The chairman of the GRA board, Mr Dan Markin, noted that Kumasi played a central role in the country’s development and, therefore, every effort would be made to modernise the city’s railway station.
He noted that effective railway would facilitate the operations of the Boankra Inland Port.
Mr Markin stated that President Mills was so much interested in the railway’s development project and that contracts for the works had been signed between the government and some Chinese companies for work to begin from February, 2011.
“I assure Otumfuo that the Kumasi station would be ready for opening by September, 2012, if we are able to evict the encroachers on time,” he said.
The board chairman, therefore, appealed to the Asantehene to do everything in his power to help the GRA get the encroachers off the lands in Kumasi.