Tema Oct. 31, GNA - Shop Owners of the Ashaiman Timber Market say they will resist all attempts to demolish their machines shops sited in an area recently re designated as part of the Tema Akosombo railway.
“We feel cheated; we feel we are not consulted, that is why we say we will resist any effort to demolish part of the market, because if it happens it will affect business. About five thousand of us will no more have jobs to do,” Mr Anthony Partey Asare, Chairman, Ashaiman Timber Market, said.
Mr. Asare was speaking to the Media at the Ashaiman Timber Market during a sit down strike to register their displeasure about the decision by the railway authorities to construct dual carriage railway through the market.
The protest, which took the form of a sit down strike, had the cargo drivers and wood dealers, wearing red bands and refusing to attend to customers who had come to buy wood products.
According to Mr. Asare, “We were not against the construction of the railways. It is a national project, but we are against the way they are handling issues.”
He said, the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) allocated the lands to them on November 6, 1990 which was measuring 8.52 acres.
He said, “We have not got any official letter from anybody that any project is coming on. So the people doing the project don’t see us as stakeholders, but we continue to cooperate with them. They come into our yard to do survey work without any resistance from us.’
“We informed TDC of the situation and they told us about a company that was about to construct a rail through the area.
“Subsequently TDC informed us that all lands occupied by the machine shops in the market were not part of the land they gave us, because according to them they gave us only 8.05 acres of land, but all along we had been paying for 8.52 acres, and that’s our problem.”
He observed that there were lots of lands behind the market with fence walls and nothing going on inside thom, “Why won’t they shift the railway lines there. It used to be a single lane track, so if they want to make it a dual lane now they have to do some consultations.”
He said, “We all love it, because it can enhance our business, because when we go to the hinter land to buy wood we can use the rail to bring them to our market at a cheaper rate, but the way they are going about it is our problem. Nobody has consulted us and they are threatening to demolish the shops within weeks.”
“The authorities were favoring Chinese investors against us. A visit to the site showed clearly an attempt to divert the lines from their original course into the market. The railway should rather go through the Chinese zone because they only have fence walls without any constructions,” he said.
He pleaded with the authorities to visit and acquit themselves with what they were doing there and give the project a human face adding that, “If you go to some advanced countries, there are areas the railway lines could go up; there are areas they could go underground.”
The Chairman of the Cargo Drivers Union at the market, Mr. Thomas Ahiadormeh, observed that about 2000 drivers would lose their jobs if the machine shops were demolished, because without the machines shops nobody would contract them to convey their wood for them.
He pleaded with government to consider their decision and not to do anything that would destroy already existing industries.
The Ghana Railway Authority and the Tema Development Company have declined to comment on the matter.