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General News of Monday, 25 September 2017

Source: atinkaonline.com

Land owners stop GRIDCO works at Paga over compensation

Land owners at Zenga, a community in Paga in the Kasena/Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, under the 225 kV Bolgatanga -Ouagadougou interconnection project have stopped works of the contractor on site over non-payments of compensation.

The aggrieved residents numbering over 20 thronged one of the sites of the project near the Paga border and demanded that their compensations be given them or work will cease. They accused GRIDCO of playing smart with their payments over the past months and questioned why their counterparts on the Burkina Faso side of the project had been compensated while they have not.

According to them, proper consultations with stakeholders had not been held with them until they noticed the erection of the transmission pylons in 2009.

After strong resistance by the affected residents, there was however a meeting in June, 2017 in which the company and property owners came to an understanding for the affected residents to be compensated.

But this, they people say never came to be as GRIDCO selected a few property owners, made payments and left the others without physical structures on their plots of land.

Several of the plots measuring over 50 acres but without structures on them have been eaten up by the pylons and power transmission lines. Other plots with properties on them have been compensated for and demolished to make way for the project.

The assemblyman for the area and a family member to the custodians of the land in the Zenga community, Azimlogo Iddrisu told our reporter, Senyalah Castro Cazo, he had been invited to Bolgatanga on this issue several times by GRIDCO but nothing has happened.

He quizzed the competence of GRIDCO and called on his community members to calm down and channel their fight through the law court.

Paga-Zenga, Baduno, Tekuru-Kizito and Nyangua are affected communities in the Kasena/Nankana West District.

Other traversed communities in the Upper East Region include Kandiga, Doba, Nayagnia, Pinyoro and Pungu constituting the Kasena/Nankana East municipality. Zorbisi, Sokabisi, Yikene, Sumbrungu, Kulbia and Anateem are communities that have also been affected in the Bolgatanga Municipality.

The World Bank funded interconnection project with a total transmission line stretch of 210 km when complete is expected to among other benefits export electricity and improve power exchanges among countries in the West African sub-region.

It also seeks to create more than 300 skilled and unskilled jobs for local residents during the construction and operations.