By Bernice Bessey
The drain linking the Odaw River from the Odawna Market is about 520 metres long. It’s presence in the community, where there are market, a lorry station, hotels, churches, homes and other businesses is a real challenge, especially during the rainy season.
Life is much easier for the residents whilst the African sun burns through the Accra ‘concrete forest’, making the ground hot, hard, dry and dusty. In moments, the dark clouds begin to gather for the earth to be watered, everywhere seems like hell, people will be running helter-skelter to safeguard their properties from being destroyed by the accompanying floods.
The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange (formerly Kwame Nkrumah Circle) and parts of Adabraka get flooded whenever the rains come, which sometimes affect people resulting in the properties or even lives. This is an age-old problem that keeps repeating itself each year.
Factorss contributing to this flooding situation, which is almost like a phenomenon, are lack of an engineered drainage system, structures erected on water courses, and the usage of the drains for dumping of refuse.
Nevertheless, attempts being made to solve the age-old problem are met with several bottlenecks, including the refusal of squatters to relocate from the construction zone, and others erecting structures and trading on the drain being constructed.
Corn dough is used to prepare two of Ghana’s most stable foods, banku and kenkey, but it the corn used in preparing these foods are under very poor conditions and on the drain. Other businesses like public washrooms and toilets have all suddenly sprung up on/near the drain, with the septic tank connected to the completed part of the drain that.
The contracted company, Comet Construction Limited, has to depend on manual means instead of machinery to de-stilt the drain, a process that slows construction work daily.
Any attempt by the engineers to complain was responded to violently with insults/unprintable words from the traders and squatters. The engineers blame the Klotey Korley Municipal Assembly for not doing much to save the situation.
The squatters and traders are so determined that even when officials from the Ghana Infrastructural Investment Fund (GIIF) and media persons inspected the project, they sat unconcerned minding their businesses in such an unhygienic environment.
The drain is part of the GH¢40 million Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) Accra Rehabilitation Project and it is seeking funding support from the GIIF.
However, Comet Construction Limited has been able to raise GH¢15 million to begin the project since August 2017, but work has slowed down because the government is yet to commit any resources or pay the certificate raised so far by the contractor, but total work is about 85 percent complete.
The GH¢40 million Accra Rehabilitation Project seeks to provide two crèches, two 50-seater toilets and washroom facility, 2,000 stalls, and a storm drain at the Odawna and Mallam markets.