Posted: Friday 18th July 2014 at 16:06 pm

K’si traders ignore Minister’s directive as they rebuild stalls after inferno


Despite a directive by Ashanti Regional Minister, Samuel Sarpong, against rebuilding stalls razed down by an inferno at the Kumasi Central Market, the traders are said to be scrambling for space to do just that.

According to Luv FM’s Erastus Asare-Donkor, a few hours after the blaze has been put out by fire personnel, the traders at the market are busy putting up structures to resume trading activities.

The Ashanti Regional Minister had lamented ‘everything is old about the market, and that is the reason why there is this sort of frequent market [fires]. ‘

‘But now were very lucky that we’ve had investors who have decided to come and build the market. As at now the bill is in Parliamentand I am very optimistic that it will be passed and the President will give his accentand they [investors] will come and rebuild the market immediately’, Mr Sarpong said, adding an attempt by the affected traders to rebuild their stalls ‘is completely out’ of the question.

Erastus says although security personnel were on the ground, they did not move in to stop the traders from going against the Minister’s directive.

Some of the traders who spoke to Erastus say although they are aware that they must not rebuild, they are pleading with authorities to allow them.

They say without trading, their source of livelihood will be cut off.

Fire gutted the Kumasi Central Market Thursday evening , in what is the third time the biggest market centre in the Ashanti Region has been razed down this year.

Erastus, who was on the ground, said over 60 shops in the ‘Dr. Mensah’ section of the market dedicated to selling used clothes was one of the most affected.

That section of the market has suffered this loss twice after the market women rebuilt the place a year ago.

In February this year, more than 100 shops were levelled by fire. It was followed by a May 11 incident in which about thirty shops were razed down in a Sunday dawn fire outbreak.

Meanwhile, fire personnel in Kumasi say the problem of frequent fire outbreaks will not going away anytime soon until recommendations of fire reports on previous incidents are implemented.

According to them, fire that gutted portions of the Kumasi Central market last night was likely caused similar factors such us illegal connections and cooking in markets.

Erastus explains that committees had been set up to investigate each of the fire outbreaks. However, partial implementation of the recommendations has been the norm.

It was once recommended that electrical wiring at the market be redone. But the rewiring efforts are yet to include the affected section of the market.

Again, access routes into the market have not be done as recommended, compounding the problem for the Fire Service to enter the raging market last Thursday.

The fire fighter had to fight the fire from outside the market.

Also, in all three fire incidents, fire tenders had to speed out in search of water and drive back to douse the flames.

And although there were fire hydrants inside the market, none was working.

[GN]
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