Upper East risks losing donor funds for Vea irrigation dam project
The Upper East Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) have been called upon to act swiftly to prevent funds meant for the rehabilitation of the Vea Irrigation Dam in the Region from going back to donors.
The dam, which was constructed in the 1970s, had not seen any major repairs. Apart from the facility being used for irrigation purposes, it is also the major source of drinking water to the people in the Bolgatanga Municipality and its environs.
The rehabilitation of the dam, which was awarded by Government to Eunitack Services Limited two years ago, was supposed to have been completed in December, 2012.
The project has delayed because the fetish priests, Tindamas, who are the “spiritual heads” in the community, are claiming that the rocks in the area that have been earmarked as part of the raw material for the project cannot be used since the rocks in community represent the shrine.
The Managing Director (MD) of Eunitack Services Limited, Mr Lawrence Adam Takyi, who made the appeal in an interview with the GNA, indicated that several meetings had been initiated by the RCC and his outfit but without a positive outcome.
“The Bongo District Assembly and the Mineral Commission have given the approval for the project. My outfit has also long since signed memorandum of understanding and package of compensation given to the chief of the area to be paid to the people who will be affected but the Tindamas will not allow us blast the rocks.
“We will have completed the project by December last year, which was the deadline but we couldn’t do so because of the misunderstanding between the chief and Tindamas,” Mr Lawrence Adam Takyi explained.
He stressed the need for the RCC and Regional Security Council to provide the workers of the firm protection whilst they work to complete the project by January this year or else the donors may demand accountability for their money.
The MD stated that they had already used part of the money to import” Geo textile” material, which was already on the project site and said what was next was to generate boulders from the rocks to complete the project.
He said when the project was completed it would help address the perennial water shortage in the Municipality and also help boast irrigation farming activities during dry season, which would reduce rural urban migration in the area.
Meanwhile at the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) Meeting with the chief of the area, Naba Thomas Azubiri, the Tindamas and the contractor, the Chairman of the REGSEC, Mr Mark Woyongo, who is also the Regional Minister, gave the chief and the Tindamas ultimatum to come out with a positive result on how to pacify the gods for the project to be completed.
He indicated that viewing the significance of the project it could not be allowed to come to a standstill and the money return to the donors, stressing “it will be very difficult for government to seek for another funds if we fail to utilize the current one”.
The Regional Minister indicated that sourcing for the boulders from other sources could be an option but the issue would be the delay in acquiring permits and additional cost to the project, which would not be readily available.
The Regional Minister warned the factions to desist from practices, which would impede on developments in the Region and the country as a whole.
Nordic Development Fund (NDF) is providing the fund for the rehabilitation of the dam.