The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Sarpong, has described as ?deeply disturbing? the increasing drift of school children into illegal mining in the Amansie West District.
He said reports that a significant percentage of pupils had abandoned the classroom in search of gold were heartbreaking, and decisive action was needed to reverse the trend.
?The risk and dire implication for the society cannot either be underestimated or overlooked,? he said.
Mr Sarpong expressed the sentiment, when he paid a courtesy call on the Queen of Manso-Nkwanta, Nana Nyarko Abora, at her palace during a working tour of the area – notorious for illegal gold digging.
The visit provided the opportunity for him to inspect on-going development projects, including the Manso-Nkwanta Community Health Training School, and an administration block completed for the district health service.
He said child welfare, growth and development, were a major priority on the government?s agenda and that is why it would do everything to provide children with adequate protection.
He gave the assurance that every community would have its fair share of development projects to transform the living conditions of the population.
Mr Sarpong re-affirmed the government?s determination to improve on the road network and provide other physical infrastructure in the area to boost agricultural production and socio-economic activities of the people.
The Minister used his visit to interact with heads of departments and the people to determine their concerns.
Nana Aborah called for pragmatic action to flush out illegal miners, who she said, were destroying farmlands and polluting water bodies in the communities.
She also called for incentive packages to entice the youth into cocoa farming ? bonuses, attractive producer prices and intensification of free fertilizer and pesticides distribution.