The Roads and Highways Minister, Kwesi Amoako-Atta, has given assurance that he will sit with the contractor working on the Navrongo-Sandema Highway to find an alternative way to construct and improve roads in Sandema without destroying the iconic mahogany trees lined up along the road.
He said, inasmuch as the road construction project was important in opening up the town to numerous economic opportunities, protecting the environment was also very important and all must do well to preserve it.
Recently, Asaase News reported on the endangered beautiful mahogany trees lined up on both sides of the road as one enters or leaves Sandema from Navrongo through towards Wiaga and how an important road project was threatening their existence.
In the news report, the district chief executive, Vida Anaab, confirmed the decision to pull down the trees, explaining that it was to pave way for the all-important road construction.
The report by Asaase News sparked a debate among residents of the town and notable environmental activists who condemned the decision.
Indigenes of Sandema disapproved of the decision and gathered signatures to stop authorities from destroying their identity. The president of the Republic of Ghana, the local and traditional authorities were also served petitions by the people.
The minister, who was responding to Asaase News after the report, stated that the ministry was not in agreement with the decision to cut the trees. Adding he will hold talks with the construction firm in charge of the road project to find a possible appropriate diversion of the road.
“I know those trees and let’s face it; we all know the importance of trees. I know those trees bordering the road in Sandema, they are beautiful if you are driving through them. They also beautify the road.”
“I don’t support that they cut them but I sometimes have fears, God forbid if you are driving on that road and you hit one of those strong trees. But with the Sandema trees, they lead you to town and people must drive slowly. My personal opinion is, we should maintain the trees; they are beautiful,” he said.
He added that “I will speak to the contractor, My Turn, if there is the possibility to divert the road to save the trees.”
Amoako-Atta urged the contractor to technically investigate the situation and see what can be done to satisfy the needs of the people. He said in the event a diversion is possible, the rest of the road between the trees would be developed into a pure local road to encourage businesses near it.
He noted that the diversion would mean additional cost but assured to make the necessary financial adjustment once a decision had been reached.
Reporting by Senyalah Castro in the Upper East Region
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