Feature Article of Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Columnist: Twumasi, Patrick
Our roads and commercial vehicles are a real sense of bother any time they are patronized. Every so often, though, the accidents caused by vehicle error or poor road construction come to affect the national consciousness.
The severity of the media attention it receives does not measure up to the scantiness of the evidence of efforts made to stem the tide. The roads and the poorly maintained vehicles work in tandem to parry pain and dirt on innocent and well meaning Ghanaians.
Owners of commercial vehicles have put forward the potent indication yet; they have their zest in the money received at the end of each working day. So are that of the drivers, who although have no option but to do the “zombie” in a Trojan horse fashion not to think of keeping the vehicles neat. Either a passenger boards and alit a commercial transport with dirt or worse of a torn dress. If it is raining or had rained the previous day, then a traveler will surely disembark with mud on the shoes or attire. Sadly, the operators of these commercial transports seem not to be chatting any way out of this unfortunate scenario. If by accident or design the roads that these means of conveyance ply are dusty, then alas, it will all be particles of sand all over a commuter’s outfit. The pettiest aspect of the situation has to do with a passenger going to work; they are most often seen in sorry state. What about breathing in dust laced with exhaust fumes on our roads? It is so funny that those who man our lorry parks receive so much revenue from drivers daily, but strangely there is little or no improvement in the conditions prevailing. Strangest, each day different drivers unions are emerging as for the reasons they are better placed to determine. Strangest still, these drivers are seen strolling through without any shame or fear of contracting diseases. This is coupled with the filth currently engulfing our lorry stations. How about the stench? Kaneshi and 37 military lorry stations in the national capital, Accra are vivid exemplification of prevailing conditions. Why should a worker get to the office with either mud, dust or both? This is unfortunate.
In spite of vehicles being unkempt, urban roads are becoming quiet something of a bother. The eat-drink-and-be-merry-and-bury-our-head-in-the-sand and lackluster attitude to issues of national prominence is our bane. Problems will take care of themselves character is a blight. Most often, a commuter within Accra, in trotro will get to work with an amount of unnecessary bodily pains, which is avoidable. Some of the roads in the Metropolis are really bad. Please, with all sincerity do not read politics in to this sad situation, that light is being thrown at. The cars are so weak that shocks cannot be absolved. The poor passenger would have to resort to positioning his or her body on the shredded rickety trotro seat to reduce the impact. Hard working citizens reach both work and home heavily tired, yet they would have to respond to the call to duty at dawn. Are there no health implications? Yes there is. These daily struggles against wobbly, unsteady vehicles, mud and dust, has to be checked with all intents and purposes, to do away with this odd.
It is of relevance that, with immediate effect those whose responsibility to maintain our lorry stations are called to order or to smell the roses. For the reason that, existing conditions are sickening. Indeed it is injurious to the health of citizens. Equally the roads are life threats. Commuting from Pokuase-Amasaman to Nkrumah Circle-Accra, through Ofankor old Police barrier stretch of the journey, always gets passengers to the edge of their seats. For the simple reason, the overloaded trailers could and may fall on its side, when the balancing goes poor, which do happen regularly. Each travel on this portion of the road everyday safely is an escape from the clutches of icy death.
The tale elsewhere might be same or worse than what you are reading. Of course, the conditions associated with commercial transports cannot be wished away, because the effect is all embracing. Despite the dint of hard work to undo this unfortunate situation, we are faced with issue of sustaining initial momentum. These flash in the pan strategies are not releasing the desired intended results. Suggestively, education should extensively be extended to our supportive drivers to do the best they can to keep these trotro clean, interior and exterior, to help take the blot out of the garments of passengers. The various Chairmen of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union of Trade Union Congress (GPRTU of TUC) could be the extension agents for change to improve on the services of these commercial vehicles as the preferred and not otherwise.
The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) should collaborate with the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), module on potholes filling to repair some of these bizarre urban roads, especially in the national capital, Accra. We need to lift ourselves from self slurring to the dais of abled-bodied-thinking-human-beings.
Let us work round the clock and prevail over these challenges. After all, why should we get to our offices dressed in dust or mired in such a sorry state that, confidence is most often lost?