Sunyani, Oct. 15, GNA – Anxiety has gripped thousands of mechanics and shop owners operating around the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) high tension and transmission zone at the Sunyani Garage site, following the company’s two-week ultimatum for them to vacate the enclave.
Many of the mechanics said they feared losing their jobs and daily incomes because there was no industrial area for them to relocate for continuous business and therefore appealed for the government's immediate intervention.
The affected mechanics and their apprentices and the shop owners said they were upset about GRIDCO’s ejection exercise, because it would affect and collapse their businesses.
During a visit to the garage site on Friday, they told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) it would be extremely difficult for them to move because there were no initial relocation arrangements.
The GNA sighted many of the mechanics who had put up their shops, and operated around the GRIDCO high tension zone passing through the enclave.
Mr. Maxwell Nana Kwame Danso, the Supervising Technician Engineer of GRIDCO, told the GNA the transmission lines threatened lives of the mechanics, saying their ejection was for their own good.
“These mechanics have built permanent structures around the transmission and that posed serious threats to their lives and customers who come to them,” he said.
“The GRIDCO right to way is that, structures and human activities and settlements must be 15 meters at each side away from transmission lines, because the lines come with high voltage of 161,000 which is hazardous to human health”, he added.
Mr. Danso said the ejection exercise would also affect some settlements around the Nana Bosoma Central Market because the transmission lines produced high radiation, and advised people around the area to vacate as soon as possible.
He explained GRIDCO had already paid compensation to the deserving individuals and property owners but regretted “we have issued several notices to encroachers and the affected mechanics, but they seemed not to cooperate”.
Mr. Danso expressed concern about indiscriminate selling of lands and human settlements in the area, saying people who buy lands around the garage enclave did so at their own risk.
“This area we are talking about is a transmission zone and we must do something immediately to avert any possible disaster,” he said.
“We settled here for years, and as we speak with you now, there is no area in the Municipality for us to relocate. We can’t also move from here and lose our jobs,” one of them, an affected auto mechanic, told the GNA on condition of anonymity.
“If they are relocating all of us to a particular industrial area then that is appropriate, but as we speak now, we don’t know any plan in that regard and our leaders here are silent because they are not affected,” another mechanic indicated.
The mechanics insisted they were not ready to relocate from the enclave, until an industrial area was developed for them.
They therefore called for the intervention of all relevant institutions and stakeholders before the situation worsened.
Mr. Peter Aboagye Antwi, the Chairman of the Bono Regional branch of the Association of Garages, appealed for broader consultation for the intended ejection and relocation of the affected mechanics.
During a short meeting of members to deliberate on the matter, he said the affected mechanics required a permanent area to relocate and undertake their economic activities.
He explained that the enclave which contained more than 3000 mechanics including shops and food joints, was developed temporarily around 1979, but persistent appeals by the association to secure permanent industrial areas had been unsuccessful.
“I don’t think the affected mechanics can relocate within these few days,” Mr. Antwi stated and appealed to GRIDCO to give them some grace period.
He therefore appealed to the affected mechanics and shop owners to calm down, and cooperate as the Association dialogued with the GRIDCO in settling the matter amicably.