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Regional News of Wednesday, 23 June 2021


GPRTU, PROTOA on warpath against 'illegal drivers' at Odumase Krobo

The Odumase main lorry station The Odumase main lorry station

Correspondence from Eastern Region

There is simmering agitation in Odumase-Krobo in the Eastern Region between some drivers’ unions operating at the Odumase main lorry station and others who load at the Odumase-Junction.

The unions consisting of members of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Progressive Transport Union (PROTOA), Global millennium among others, have accused some drivers of resorting to loading at the Junction instead of joining them at the station.

About 700 drivers are said to belong to the unions and the situation they lament has over the last four years deprived the station of passengers, many of whom are forced to join the stray vehicles by the roadside.

The Odumase station which used to be a beehive of transport and economic activities was the premier transport location in the municipality with drivers loading to destinations such as Asesewa, Oterkporlu, Sekesua, Akateng, Oborpah-Gyerkiti, Yonguase, Ohiamitsi, Agogo, Miaso, etc.

However, the station is now a pale shadow of itself with many passengers travelling to major cities including Accra, Koforidua, Tema and Asesewa preferring to join “floating vehicles” and roadside stations rather than heading to the station.

Executives of the station who spoke to GhanaWeb in an interview said several appeals to the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly and the Odumase Police Command have yielded no results as the illegal transport activities continue.

According to the Chairman of the GPRTU at Odumase, Ransford Kumi, efforts to have the lawless drivers join them at the station have been fruitless.

“We have approached them and asked them to join us so we can all operate from the station, all vehicles would be brought to the station but despite our persistence and involvement with the police, they still operate from there…look at the condition at the station today, the station has collapsed,” he complained bitterly.

According to him, the drivers operating at the illegal location are unknown to any of the drivers’ unions and said a demonstration was in the offing if nothing was done about the situation.

“We have decided to officially write to the Municipal Assembly to indicate our resolve to stage a massive demonstration, no car will be allowed to load here. After seven days of the submission of this letter and nothing is done about the situation, we shall embark on a demonstration,” he fumed.

The drivers also lamented about insanitary conditions and the poor state of the station which is still not floored, resulting in the station becoming muddy when it rains and posing inconveniences to drivers, passengers and traders who ply the facility.

Mr Kumi said though the station has religiously paid its tolls of GH¢120 a month to the Assembly over the years, they have been unable to fulfill this statutory obligation for the past two years due to the current difficulties.

“They [Assembly] comes for the tolls and the drivers are also charged GH¢1 at the barriers…but how do we pay when we don’t make sales here? We had a meeting here with the police commander and proceeded to the location for her to see things for herself but nothing has happened," he said.

Some of the affected drivers at the station in an interview with GhanaWeb, lamented about the situation, saying that they hardly made any sales in a day.

One of them, Agbertey Ishmeal Kwasi who has been operating at the station for the past twenty-two years said, “We haven’t loaded since morning, we have nowhere to go. As we idle here, they are loading over there and we those who have joined the unions to ensure the best for all of us are being deprived while we have families to feed.”

Another, Teye Francis shared similar concerns with GhanaWeb. Francis who has operated at the station for 6months said they idle all day without any income while their colleagues on the other side rake in sales.

“We have been here since morning without working while they (illegal operators) load. They go three, four times (in a day) while we remain idle here.)

Isaac Tettey, a driver who has also operated at the station for eight years said, “The situation is resulting in accidents and deaths as just recently, a vehicle failed its breaks and killed a young woman. Vehicles always fail their breaks at the junction and cause damages to lives and properties.”

To prevent further accidents and avoid apparent disturbances, the drivers charged the authorities to ensure order to guarantee sanity within the transport space by stopping what they consider illegality.