Western Rail Lines project in danger

The Western Rail Lines project, which is to re-activate rail transport between Kumasi and Tarkoradi, faces imminent danger, following a High Court ruling recently that reverted the land on which the Kumasi Railway Station is sited to the Asemhene, Nana Ampofo Kyei-Baffour.

The land is said to have been leased to the Ghana Railway Company (GRC) for 100 years,  a period which has allegedly expired.

With the expiration of the tenure, the land is said to have automatically reverted to the original owner.

But the GRC, under the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA), has appealed against the ruling. 

The judgement in the appellate petition is expected to be delivered today, June 16, 2014.

Today’s judgement can have far-reaching ramification on the project and the authority’s plan of reviving rail transport.

The GRDA has already engaged a transaction advisor, through the ministries of Transport and Finance, with assistance from the World Bank, to help package the development of the Tema-Kumasi lines, together with the Bontra Dry Port.

The GRDA, chaired by Ghana’s one-time Agriculture Minister, Mr Ibrahim Adams, is in Kumasi for a crunch board meeting and has inspected the facility which has been encroached on by private developers, while portions have been taken over by drug pushers and miscreants.

The board also sought audience with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr John Alexander Ackom, on the way forward.

The GRDA needs at least $500 million to build new lines from Kumasi to Takoradi to enhance the mining sector and the oil industry, as well as facilitate businesses in general between the Ashanti and Western regions.

Already, a host of foreign companies, including some from South Africa, have expressed interest in the project, which is expected to begin this year, barring any hitches.

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