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Politicians, chiefs blamed for encroachment on public lands

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Housing_PopulationParticipants at a regional stakeholder consultative meeting have blamed chiefs and politicians for the massive encroachment on public lands and illegal structures in Kumasi.

They said the active involvement of these two groups was making it difficult for the city authorities and other government agencies to enforce building by-laws and regulations.

The meeting had been called to discuss a draft spatial development framework (SDF) and structure plan (SP) to restore some sanity and order in Kumasi and seven adjoining districts including Kwabre East, Afigya-Kwabre, Ejisu-Juaben, Bosomtwe, Atwima-Kwanwoma, Asokore-Mampong and Atwima-Nwabiagya, termed the “Greater Kumasi sub-Region”.

It brought together chiefs, heads of department, district chief executives, assembly members and district planning offices.

The SDF is a joint initiative of the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), Town and Country Planning, Ministries of Environment, Science and Technology, Local Government and Rural Development, Finance and the National Development Planning Commission.

The goal is to have in place a comprehensive urban development plan for Kumasi and the nearby districts that had virtually been fused.

This is being done with technical and financial support from the Japan International Development Cooperation (JICA) and it would among others involve the construction of outer ring roads, creation of new towns and the improvement of education and health facilities over the next 20 years.

The participants insisted that if decisive action was not taken to stop the siege on available open spaces and lands reserved for public future use, the Greater Kumasi sub-Region Project would fail.

They called for the government to properly secure lands in the project area to prevent further encroachment.

The JICA Team Leader, Mr Hideyuki Sasaki, said the vision is for the greater Kumasi sub-region to transform the current economy to a vibrant, modernized and diversified one with booming commerce, logistics, manufacturing and knowledge based industries.

He appealed to the Asantehene and the other chiefs for strong leadership for the successful implementation of the project.

Mr Asiedu Poku, former Director of Town and Country Planning, rallied all stakeholders to support the implementation to improve the lives of the people.

Source: GNA

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