Regional News of Thursday, 26 September 2013
Cured lepers at the Ho Lepers Village who are already starving as a result of the delay in the payment of their monthly allowance may soon be sleeping in the dark following the threat of disconnection of their electricity by the ECG.
The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in the Volta Regional capital, Ho, has issued a two week ultimatum for the Lepers Village to pay up the GH¢4,200 debt owed the company, or risk being disconnected from the national grid.
This came to light when officials at the Centre for National Affairs visited the village to interact with the cured lepers and to find out issues that affect them.
Speaking to Myjoyonline.com in an interview, the Overseer at the Cured Lepers Village in Ho, Joycelyn Othlich confirmed the threat of disconnection.
Othlich dreads the possibility of the lepers living in the village without electricity.
She conceded that the village had not paid its bills for three years because it did not have the means to do so and appealed to philanthropists, to come to the aid of the village by paying the debt owed the ECG before the authorities carry out the threat of disconnection.
She said the supply of solar panel to the village may well end the perennial challenge of electricity bills which appear to always hang around the necks of the inmates of the Village.
But the District Manager of the Ho ECG, Robert Amewuda, told Myjoyonline.com the arrears owed the Electricity Company is slightly higher than what had been quoted.
According to him, the figure is now hovering around GH ¢6,000 due largely to a clinic being operated as part of the lepers village.
He however denied the threat of disconnection but said there ought to be a payment plan in order to sustain the supply of electricity to the village.
Joycelyn Othlich said the inmates sometimes have to go without food because of the shortage of food supply to the village.
Even when officials of the CNA donated food stuff to the village, there was no gas to cook with, she stated.
According to her, the inmates are yet to receive the monthly allowance of GH¢24 per person.
“There is the delay in the payment of the monthly LEAP allowance for the inmates,” Othlich said, adding, for nine months the inmates are yet to receive the allowance from the Social Welfare Department.
The inmates depend on the allowances and other donations to survive but with the delay in the payment of the allowances and the donations running in short supply, the inmates sometimes go without food, Othlich lamented.
She appealed to philanthropists, government and other stakeholders to come to the aid of the inmates.
Even though the inmates’ stay in the village is often blighted with shortage of foodstuff, access to health care has been phenomenal, due largely to the hard work of the Ho Municipal Health Insurance Scheme.