Mr Emmanuel Dankwa Osafo, the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Engineering and Operations of the Volta River Authority (VRA), says actual construction work on the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam and Irrigation project would start this year.
He said they had spent some time in designs, data collection and surveys, among others and would be liaising with other state agencies to discuss the resettlement of people presently occupying the area that would be covered by the reservoir.
“On paper we have, but we have gone on the field and marked, so everybody knows which areas will be affected. All these have been documented for purposes of compensation and relocation,” he said.
Mr Osafo said this in an interview with journalists in Bolgatanga during a stakeholder’s validation meeting on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam and Irrigation project.
He said if all documentations and settlements were completed, and the land acquired through legitimate means, the actual construction of the dam would start.
“So the project has started. We have come out with an EIA, a resettlement action plan to discuss with all stakeholders, but construction of the dam itself will start when we finish with all these processes. God willing, we will start this year,” he said.
Mr Osafo said the project had four key objectives, the capacity to generate 59.6 megawatts (MW) of hydropower, 50MW of solar power, develop irrigation potential for the cultivation of 25,000 hectares of land and develop fisheries resources of the White Volta and the floor control element.
“For floor control, we know the perinatal problems that people in the Upper East Region have concerning flooring, especially during the rainy season. It is our aim that by the time we finish with the construction of the dam, we will mitigate it as much as possible.”
Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister said, “I am refreshed by the assurances from the VRA that the completion of the EIA report will enable the acceleration of physical work on the project.”
He said the project was on course and remained the “game-changer for the social and economic transformation of Northern Ghana and everything is being done to bring that to fruition.”
Mr Yakubu said it was the first time a government was investing about one billion dollars in the lives of the people of Northern Ghana in the areas of power generation, agriculture and employment.
He was confident that the EIA report would be acceptable to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and beneficial to the people of the catchment area.
The Minister said apart from the diligent work done in producing the draft report, the stakeholder engagement offered them the opportunity to make inputs to enrich the report.
“Luckily, we have the right mix of agencies and stakeholders who will bring their diverse interests and expertise to bear in making the document acceptable,” the Minister, who is also the immediate past Ambassador of Ghana to the Kingdom of Morocco, said.
Mr Yakubu also emphasized that the success of the project would largely depend on how the media adequately served as a reliable interface between implementers and the beneficiary communities.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in November 2019 cut the sod for the commencement of construction of the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Irrigation Dam Project in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.