Amewu sends strong warning to rail thieves

Mr John-Peter Amewu, Minister of Railway Development, says the Government will soon arrest and punish individuals stealing components for fittings of the tracks on the Tema-Mpakadan railway.

This follows the observation that about 250 bolts and nuts have been stolen by unknown persons on the Tema Harbour-Afienya stretch of the 97 kilometres railway project prior to completion.

“Let me sound this warning to Ghanaians living along railway properties and the general public that this behaviour of stealing properties and equipment for projects is shameful and untoward. It should stop now.” Mr Amewu said.

He told the Ghana News Agency that the installation of anti-theft devices on the railway and the kind of community and stakeholder engagement done, the thieves would soon be caught and dealt with according to law.

“The law will catch on any single citizen that makes an attempt to steal materials for the construction of rail lines. It’s so unfortunate they were not caught but any attempt further, the law will definitely catch on them,” the Minister said.

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“We’ve done a lot of stakeholder engagement particularly with the citizens…the contractor is installing the anti-theft systems on the tracks, which would make it difficult for the bolts and nuts to be removed,” he added.

Mr Amewu appealed to all Ghanaians to protect State properties and said: “Let’s be our own keepers and protectors of property that belong to Government…we should accept it as our own property and take good care of it.”

Despite not meeting several deadlines for the project, the sector minister was confident that with the progress made and assurance from the contractor, all works on the 97km Tema-Mpakadan railway would be completed by December 2022.

The project, which commenced in 2017 missed its July 2020 completion deadline due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some technical challenges. It also missed the March 2022 completion date and is expected to be done by December this year.

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Mr Anil Kumar Patel, Project Manager, Afcons, said initially it was challenging working on the rail line through Tema due to congestion and encroachment of lands in the area.

He added that they had to remove about 2.5 million cubic metre of rock at Mpakadan, and faced some challenges transporting some of the materials to site, but all those challenges had been addressed.

On the progress of the project, Mr Patel told GNA that after laying tracks on the Volta rail bridge, the work would be about 95 per cent completed, and said they were confident that the project would be ready by December 2022.

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On local participation, the Project Manager indicated that Afcons had been working with about 40 Ghanaian engineers, who he said could construct and maintain railways.

“All the local people employed in the project have been trained in the technology and they can be working anywhere. They’re now fit for doing all kinds of maintenance and construction,” Mr Patel said.

The USD447.17 million project, executed by Afcons Infrastructure Limited with about 1080 workforce (82 percent Ghanaians) is about 90 per cent completed, and would have eight rail stations.

Being part of the 1,000km Ghana-Burkina Faso Railway Interconnectivity Project, it would improve transportation of people and goods from the Northern part of the country to the Tema port, reduce transport cost, and support cross-country connectivity with Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, and Niger.

Source: GNA


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