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Minister worried about haphazard human settlements

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Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, on Thursday, expressed her concern about the haphazard development of human settlements, especially in the urban areas.

She said the situation has become even more worrying, in the wake of the frequent loss of lives and properties, resulting from obstructions of natural water ways, dumping of waste in drains and disregard for policies protecting water bodies.

Ms Ayittey was speaking at a workshop on the presentation of the final report and the handing over of the Land Use Planning and Management Project (LUPMP), in Accra.

In April 2007, the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) initiated the process to revamp the spatial and land use planning system in Ghana, under the LUPMP, to bring innovative changes to the land use policy in the country.

She expressed the hope that the proposals made by the project in the report would go a long way to facilitate decongestion, upgrading of depressed areas and help improve on the environment and the quality of life of the people.

She said the project should also ensure the attainment of a balanced distribution of the urban population and a spatially integrated human settlement to support the positive transformation of the country’s economy.

Ms Ayittey said even though the success story of the LUPMP may be fascinating, however what is more important was how to sustain the gains made so far.

“Many interventions have been described as successful, based on the project outputs nicely presented at colourful sessions like this, but the reports mainly end up on shelves and gather dust over the years” she said.

Ms Ayittey charged the staff of TCPD, who would take over the programme from the consultants to upscale the experience gained from the pilot works for the benefit of the rest of the country.

She warned that her ministry would not countenance any lapses and other professional misconduct from the TCPD and would not hesitate to institute severe sanctions against staff members found wanting in the discharge of their duties.

“Many people have sacrificed to bring us this far, and we cannot afford to disappoint them.

Let me know the challenges confronting you in translating these laudable proposals into reality, and I assure you that no stone will be left unturned to have them addressed appropriately” she added.

Mr Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) called for proper regulatory framework in land acquisition and building standards in the country.

He charged the TCPD to ensure that citizens conform to the laws and the land use policy in the country.

“We should not only celebrate the revamp of the TCPD but we should be able to insist that the law works to solve problems” he said.

Mr Asiedu Poku, Acting Director of the TCPD, tasked the staff to be mindful of the enormous responsibilities that comes with the overhauling of the department.

He said the new TCPD requires a motivated staff, willing to constantly improve upon their skills in ICT, spatial planning concepts, planning law and standards, as well as urban management procedures.

He said in spite of the numerous challenges facing the department, the organisation is still determined to deliver on its mandate and achieve its goals.

Source: GNA

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