Dangerous Bortianor Hills, Weija Illegal Quarry Sites Shut Down
Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, has cracked the whip on operators of illegal stone quarry, sand winning and construction activities around the Bortianor-Hills, Tuba, Oblogo and Weija enclave under Ga-South and Weija-Gbawe municipalities of the Greater Accra Region, areas even though described as earthquake prone zone and risky to human lives.
According the Minister, the shutdown has become necessary because it was time for the Ministry to take decisive, pragmatic and proactive steps to avert “a reoccurrence of Appiatse”.
Mireku Duker, who stormed the quarry sites with armed police personnel on Wednesday, May 18, during a working visit, caused the arrest of six individuals who were busily working at the time of the visit, whiles others flee.
Mr. Duker stressed, the Ministry will not sit aloof and allow any disaster to occur in the area for government to be held responsible.
“It is important to caution residents here to move, since in the event of an earthquake, the consequences will be catastrophic; if it happens, government will be blamed,” he advised.
“We are going to pull down these buildings because we would not allow another ‘Appiatse’ to happen in this area,” he stressed.
According to him, the area has been declared as an earth-quake prone zone and, therefore, certain activities in the area, such as quarry and sand winning should not have taken place.
He said, data from the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA) suggest that any form of human activities at those areas can trigger landslides or mudslide which has the potential to cause damage to lives and property.
The Deputy Minister indicated records showed that neither the Ministry of Lands, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor, the Minerals Commission has processed or granted any mining license for quarry operations in the areas.
The action by the Minister follows an earlier warning he gave, when the hazardous activities of the miners were brought to his attention by officials of the Ghana Geological Survey Authority in a presentation regarding the dangers associated with the place.
Narrating the geological history of the area, Mr. Nicholas Opoku, Head of Geo-hazards Division of GGSA, indicated that these areas have been earmarked as earthquake-prone and not meant for any development nor mining activities.
The Minister’s first point of visit was Oblogo hills, where the team witnessed various illegal mining and construction activities ongoing very dangerously, without recourse to safety mechanisms.
Without mincing words, Mr. Duker instructed the immediate demolition of all illegal structures in the area.
At Bortianor and Tuba hills, where the illegal sand wining activities have led to the death of three children, the Minister caused the arrest of miners who were caught at the site and handed them over to the Police administration for further action.
Subsequently, he tasked the Works Department of the Ga South Municipal Assembly to be up to the task and clamp down on all the illegalities that may resurface.
He charged the Weija Divisional Police Command to frequently patrol and monitor the area to prevent trespassers from accessing the area.
Source: The Anchor