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General News of Wednesday, 8 January 2003

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

GCWL's woes deepen.....

as more burst pipes are uncovered

Seven weeks after the CHRONICLE broke a story of how a decade old burst pipes are still flowing in various parts of the Kpong township in the Eastern Region, the paper has fresh revelations for the Ghanaian taxpayer as similar burst pipes in other parts of the country are unheeded.

In a follow-up to the "lone ranger crusade" mounted a few months ago, this reporter has discovered two more such pitiable drains on our national economy.

The first is a one-year old major burst at a point between the Krobo mountain and Akuse which has virtually formed a stream long enough to irrigate several hectars of arable land. Specifically it his along the main line that serves the entire Akuse township, including the prisons, hospital, district police barracks, VRA Resettlement area and other important institutions.

A resident in one of the villages near the place, who took yours truly round some of the affected areas during the Christmas Eve, hinted that to the best of his knowledge no pragmatic effort had been made by the Ghana Water Company Limited to bring the situation under control.

Speaking under strict condition of anonymity, the young man said they had drawn the attention of GWCL to the problem but they seem not to have bothered about them.

The concerned citizen, who spent over two hours with this reporter in the bush, trying to race the real source of the artificial stream, was so worried about the waste that he exclaimed later in a taxi: "Why can't GWCL have a metre or equipment to detect bursts as is the case of ECG? They are wasting the country's meagre resources to import chemicals only to throw it into the bush."

He was not happy with the recent tariff increases announced by the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU) and believed that such wastes may have precipitated the tariff increases.

In a related development, a swamp at the main gate of the breeding farm of Afariwaa Farms Limited, near Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, has been traced to a three month old burst that has been unattended to.

When Chronicle visited the site recently, the scene was just an eyesore with a nearby gutter being the sole beneficiary. Workers interviewed at the farms complained that help has failed to come even though they called at the Ashaiman offices of the company several times.

According to the sources, a team that eventually visited the area, including the maintenance officer, turned back when they saw the enormity of work to be done.

Attempts to contact the district sales manager, Mr. Larry Fiadzoe, on phone for comments, failed as the feedback indicated that he was out of coverage area. But all in all the company's name is gradually becoming synonymous with "wastage."

It will be recalled that in November last year the Chronicle published a story of similar unheeded bursts, which are currently receiving some sort of attention. Many are of the view that privatising the company may be the only way out, going by recent reports of economic drains that are received by the day.