Tuesday, 09 June 2015
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Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper Kwesi Pratt has kicked against the decision by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to demolish fuel stations situated at residential areas.

He believes demolishing fuel stations in the country is not the solution to the perennial flooding in Accra.

In the wake of the recent flood-induced fire disaster at Circle, which resulted in over 100 persons losing their lives and the diplacement of several others following days of heavy downpour, some have blamed poor planning of the city and lack of political will for the disaster.

They insist government has the responsibility to ensure that proper national planning is carried out holistically to avert any future occurrences.

Numerous calls have been made on the Accra Mayor, Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye, to step down while others have proposed for city authorities to commence some demolition exercises at areas where structures are established along waterways including fuel stations.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has therefore begun demolishing structures and other properties located in waterways and which were built without permits. It forms part of the war against the establishment of unauthorised fuel stations in some residential areas in Accra and Tema.

On Sunday a Total Filling Station at the Community 1 Market in Tema was closed down due to a leakage.

On Monday the new one at Mile 7, Achimota in Accra was also pulled down for lack of a permit.

But the Senior Journalist believes the decision to raze down such structures located in residential areas is a knee jerk reaction, and pointed out that government cannot embark on demolishing spree since "filling stations cannot be sited outside communities."

Kwesi Pratt recounted some sites across the globe where fuel stations have been allowed to be established at residential areas. To him, the government should adopt a more proper safety measure to avert future occurrences of the flooding but not just take delight in razing down buildings.

“Filling stations are in communities. Filling stations cannot be outside communities. It is communities which need filling stations. The difference is the safety measures and the enforcement of safety measures....All over the world, there are restaurants, supermarkets at filling stations, yet disasters don’t occur. The difference is the implementation and enforcement of safety measures, the laws work...So, in Ghana, even if we move the filling stations into the forest or the Sahara desert and do not enforce any safety measures, we will still be having disaster on our hands,” he said.

He described the AMA's demolition decision as a knee jerk reaction that will yield no results but only inflame passions.

Whiles admitting that it was necessary to demolish properties built on waterways, Mr. Pratt held that controlling the flood situation is a matter of "common sense" and sufficient notice must be given to ensure that “people safeguard their valuable items before you demolish. That will make more sense”.

He wondered how the country can claim to have knowledgeable technocrats yet cannot roll up measures to end its perennial flooding.

“Demolishing for demolishing sake will help no one, we need to plan adequately before we embark on exercises of that nature...This is a country with a university of science and technology. Have they been charged to find solutions to these problems? If they have, what resources have been set aside to assist them in their findings?" he sought to know.

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