Lack of demarcation, a bane of IDA Lands, Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The lack of demarcation on lands belonging to the Irrigation Development Authority (IDA) at Roman Down and Jericho, near Ashaiman has become a bone of contention between the Ashaiman Traditional Council (ATC), the custodians of the land and the IDA.

      While the ATC which released the land to the IDA in  1952 claimed that it relseased some portions of the land not being used by the IDA  to developers after writing to the IDA, a source at the IDA said,  portions of the land which served as a buffer zone for residue from  run off water to settle had been encroached upon.

       The source said even though the encroachment has not affected the vegetable farms, the encroachers had turned portions of the farms into refuse dump sites coupled with other sanitation problems.

       The source also stated that landguards in the area were also making work at the site difficult, "there have been occassions that the staff of the IDA have been attacked by these landguards."

      When the Daily Graphic got to the site, several building on the land had inscriptions  such as “REMOVE   BEFORE MAY 13, 2010”  or “STOP WORK” boldly written on the structures.

      Trees that served as boundary between the offices of the IDA and the buffer zone had also been cut down with buildings eating deep into the IDA boundary.

     When contacted, the regent of the  Ashaiman stool, Nii  Anan Adzor,  in a reaction to an earlier Daily Graphic publication of Wednesday July 21, 2010 said the Ashaiman Divisional Council (ADC) had never employed landguards to work for its interest neither had it encouraged encroachment on the IDA lands, even though he admitted that there were some encroachment on the land.

  Reacting to a comment made by ACP Augistine Gyening, the Tema Regional Commander in the named publication which advised chiefs to desist from using landguards to achieve their objectives, he said  although the council acknowledged the presence of land guards in the area, the council had nothing to do with them.

He explained that some developers for fear of loosing their properties employed the services of landguards to protect their premises and, therefore this could not be blamed on the council.

Nii Isaac Commey, the Stool Father of the ADC, told the Daily Graphic that the none availability of site plans  had contributed to settler farmers taking over lands belonging to the council claiming that their (settler farmers) fore fathers had been farming on such lands for ages.

The publication in question had alleged that encroachers described as landguards had invaded the vegetable farms site and were selling the land to developers with the backing of some unknown person.
“All the farmers on those lands are not paying anything to the council nor the IDA and can, therefore, not claim that their land was being encroached upon.”

He challenged the Ashaiman Roman Down Co-operative Farmers Association which he alleged was occupying  part of the council’s land to produce a documentary evidence that proves contrary that they land they were occupying did not belong to the IDA.

He said because no e site plans exists presently, it was difficult to determine whether the stool lands which has been released to developers had fallen into the IDA buffer zone.

He appealed to the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) to make the site plan available to the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly (ASHMA) and the ADC to help in the demolition exercise.

He also urged the ASHMA to consult the ADC in any planned demolition exercise of structures close to the IDA site to ensure that persons who had legitimately acquired land from the council were not victims of the demolition.

Mr C.O. Marteye, the Chairman for the Ashaiman stool, for his part said as part of measures to streamline the acquisition of land in the area, it was embarking on a registration excercise to ensure that all property owners in the area had proper indentures in order to reduce conflict that arise because of land ownership.

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