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Regional News of Friday, 17 September 2010

Source: GNA

Sand winning zones to be created in Gomoa

Apam (C/R), Sept 17, GNA - Sand winning areas are to be demarcated in the Gomoa East and West Districts to protect the lands from degradation. Committees are to be formed to monitor sand winning in the Districts; they are to ensure that sand contractors have genuine licences to operate and also that they operate within the terms in those licences.

The committees are also to ensure that the contractors operate only between 6.00 a.m. and 6 p.m. and that they reclaim the land after the sand winning.

These were some of the decisions adopted at the "save the Land forum" organized by the two paramount chiefs, Obrifo Ahunako Ahor Ankobea II of Gomoa Akyempim, and Obrempong Nyanful Krompah XI of Gomoa Ajumako, at Apam for stakeholders.

Radio Peace, a community radio station at Winneba and the Gomoa East and West District Assemblies supported the chiefs in organizing the forum to find solutions to land degradation through sand winning and stone quarrying. Present at the forum were representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Minerals Commission, DCEs from the area, Divisional Chiefs, opinion leaders and members of the Sand Contractors Association

Land degradation is a major problem in the two Districts which the chiefs feared could lead to famine in the area. Mr Isaac Kingsley Ahunu-Armah, District Chief Executive for Gomoa East, attributed indiscriminate sand winning in the District to chieftaincy disputes which had rendered some of the areas "no man's land" which some unscrupulous citizens were exploiting.

Mr Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, DCE for Gomoa West, called on chiefs and land owners not to negotiate land sale or lease out land without involving District Assemblies. That, he said, would make the assemblies witnesses to the deal.

Mr Peter Ackon, Central Regional Programme Officer of EPA, appealed to Ghanaians not to regard the management of the environment as the responsibility of EPA alone but must regard it as a multi-sectorial issue.

Mr Peter Awuah, Assistant Manager, Mineral Titles Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the Minerals Commission, stated that it was only the sector Minister who was permitted to sign licences for applicants and stressed that any licence without the signature of the Minister must be rejected. Mr Kow Anyanful, a former DCE FOR Gomoa, pointed out that sand is a mineral resources and that the laws on winning are applicable to sand winning too.

He said sand winning along the beaches had exposed the rocks which were creating problems for landing by fishermen. Obrifo Ahor Ankobea noted that no development could take place without land and cautioned chiefs to protect their lands from degradation. Obrempong Nyanful Krampah, expressed fear of famine if sand winners continued to render the land barren. 17 Sept 10