Tefle Paramount Chief lauds VRA’s move to dredge the Volta River

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Ho Social Dredging Dugbazah
Ho Social Dredging Dugbazah

Torgbi Nakakpo Dugbazah VIII, Paramount Chief of Tefle traditional area has commended moves by government and the Volta River Authority (VRA) to begin dredging operations in the Volta River.

According to the traditional ruler, who is a trained marine engineer, the Volta River had never been dredged since the construction of the Akosombo dam between 1961-1965.

He observed that the situation had changed the water’s condition over the years, reducing the velocity of the water’s flow along the river.

Torgbi Dugbazah was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Tefle near Sogakope in the South Tongu district of the Volta region.

“It is the velocity of the water that takes sediments from the water into the sea, and once the sediments especially mud and aquatic weeds start growing on the river bed, the river is unable to flow smoothly into the sea.

This he explained causes “diseases like river blindness and bilharzia to affect people living and working along the river and could also result in flooding and displacement of the people,” Torgbi Dugbazah observed.

He said since the dam’s construction, economic activities like fishing and oyster harvesting which the people relied heavily on for a living had ceased, bringing untold hardships to the dwellers along the river.

The Tefle paramount chief, who is also a ranking member of the standing and judicial committees of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs said, small scale sand winning in the river was also a major economic activity the people of the traditional area engaged in to feed their families over the years.

He said his outfit was reliably informed that government through the Volta River Authority (VRA) had concluded plans to start dredging the river with dredging vessels already stationed in the waters around Ada to begin operations.

Torgbi Dugbazah commended government and the VRA for that move but expressed worry that the young men and women who were engaged in sand winning activities along the river albeit on a small scale may be deprived of their livelihoods with the presence of these huge self-loader vessels.

He appealed to the VRA to consider absorbing these youth who were already into the small-scale sand winning to work alongside the foreign vessels as he observed they were also contributing to the dredging of the river in a way.

“Yes, the move by the government and the VRA to begin the dredging of the river is a welcomed one as it is long overdue. My only concern is that, as we begin the dredging activities, we should be mindful of our youth who are into the collection of sand from the river for sale to earn their living so as not to deprive them of their livelihoods to worsen their already poor economic conditions,” he said.

The Tefle paramount chief also appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to soften its stance on the youth of the area, whom he alleged were being “harassed” by the EPA to regularise their operations and acquire business operating permits, which fees he lamented were quoted in dollars, and was beyond the reach of the youth.

Torgbi Dugbazah pledged his support and that of the Tefle traditional area to the VRA and government in any way possible and called on other communities along the river to lend their support towards a smooth operation which he said was in “our own interest.”

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