The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, says the reconstruction of the Appiatse community in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipal Assembly is on schedule, and the first phase, which consists of the construction of the core community, would be completed before the end of the year.
This was disclosed on Wednesday, 4th January 2023, after the Minister led a delegation from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Appiatse Reconstruction Implementation Committee to inspect the progress of work in the community.
The Appiatse community was razed down on Thursday, 20th January 2022, when a truck carrying explosives to a mining site exploded in the community. About thirteen (13) people are reported to have died from the incident, with several others sustaining different degrees of injuries. A Government delegation, led by the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mamamudu Bawumia, visited the community shortly after the incident and committed to settling the medical bills of all the injured.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, following investigations into the matter, imposed a fine of Six Million US Dollars (US$6,000,000.00) on Maxxam Ghana Limited, the company responsible for the transportation of the explosives. A Health and Safety Committee, chaired by the Vice Chancellor of George Paa Grant University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Prof. Richard Amankwah, was also established to review the health and safety standards in the mining industry, which led to some reforms in the industry.
The government, also, promised to reconstruct the Appiatse community into a modern, green and sustainable community as a model for rural development. An Appiatse Support Fund was thus established to, among others, support the reconstruction of the community, while temporary accommodation was provided for the victims of the incident.
As the first anniversary of the incident approaches, the Minister visited the community to inspect the progress of work and assure members of the community of the Government’s continuous support.
Briefing the Minister and the Delegation, the Project Architect, Mr. Walter Semordzi, said the first phase of the project consists of the construction of one hundred of twenty-four (124) housing units made up of two to seven-bedroom houses, a school block with sanitary facilities, and the construction of roads within the community.
He said so far, one hundred and six (106) out of the one hundred twenty-four (124) housing units are under construction and are at different stages of completion. A kindergarten and six-unit classroom block are also under construction, while the Department of Urban Roads has commenced work on the construction of the roads in the community. He said the first phase of the project is about thirty percent (30%) complete, and it’s on schedule to be completed within time.
Speaking to the media after the inspection, Mr. Jinapor expressed satisfaction with the progress of the work. He said the preoccupation of any responsible Government, following such a tragic incident, was to provide emergency relief to support victims, investigate the matter and apply the necessary sanctions, and reconstruct the community to give the victims the dignity of life they deserve.
He said Government has since been committed to this process, and the victims have been provided with temporary accommodation while the reconstruction is ongoing.
Mr. Jinapor said Government’s commitment is to complete the first phase of the project and move the victims back to the community before the end of the year. He said social amenities required for a decent living, such as electricity and potable water, will be provided for the community as well.
He assured of Government’s commitment to develop the community in accordance with the master plan, which include other facilities such as a market and parks. He called on the general public to continue to donate to the Appiatse Support Fund to raise enough money to expedite the reconstruction of the project.
The Divisional Chief of Bepo, Nana Atta Kojo Brembi, thanked the Minister and Government for the support given to them since the unfortunate incident. He said the condition of most of the victims would have been miserable without Government support.
He lauded the decision of the Government to reconstruct the community and pledged their continuous support to the Government to complete the reconstruction. He also pleaded with the Government to continue to support some of the victims who can no longer work due to the degree of injury sustained.
Accompanying the Minister for the inspection were the Board Chairman of the Minerals Commission and former Member of Parliament for the Prestea Huni Valley Constituency, Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyasi, and the Deputy Minister for Lands Natural Resources and Chairperson of the Reconstruction Implementation Committee, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio.
Story by:Kwaku Stephen