Residents from eight communities and 219 households at Bui and its catchment area totalling 1,216 – who were affected by the construction of the hydroelectric dam and its reservoir – have benefited from the resettlement programme by the Bui Power Authority (BPA).
The communities are Brewohodi -10 households with 48 people resettled; Dam Site – six with 36 resettled; Agbegikuro – 22 with 107; Lucene – four with 26; Bui Village – 42 with 297; Bator Akanyakrom – 63 with 437; Dokokyina – 36 with 165 and Bui National Camp – 36 with 100 resettled.
The resettlement was necessitated by the fact that six out of the eight communities fell within the area of permanent inundation.
Although Dokokyina would not be inundated, there was the need for the residents to be relocated because the community was going to be surrounded on three sides by the reservoir (south, east and west), and large parts of their land, which they use for cultivation, grazing, hunting and collection of forest products, were also going to be submerged.
The resettlement programme also involved the relocation of the Bui Camp and the dilapidated residence of the Game and Wildlife Officers assigned to protect the Bui National Park.
BPA, recognising that displacement of people could pose social challenges, pursued Environmental and Social Impact Mitigation Measures situated in a Resettlement Planning Framework (January 2007) for the Bui hydroelectric project.
The report outlined the processes and principles for resettlement to achieve the objectives of improving the living conditions of the residents and creating economic opportunities for the affected people.
The main elements of the Resettlement & Community Support Programme which were agreed between BPA and the Project Affected People after consultations included improved houses (room for room + kitchen + bathroom + living room), community centre, education, electricity, potable water, road, health, Livelihood Enhancement Programme Phase 1, toilet facilities and compensation for loss of economic trees at LVB rates.
The residents in the affected communities also had a grant of GH¢100 each to mitigate the incidental costs and inconvenience of relocation.
Another facility was a GH¢50 to till new farm, and temporary income support of GH¢100 per month per household for one year.
Speaking in an interview with the media on the whole resettlement programme, the Bui chief, Nana Kwadwo Wuo II, said that he and his people were happy about the whole process, saying they had settled down in the new environment. He indicated that before the process began, they took a tour to the Akosombo area where resettlement for a dam construction was first conducted; and comparing it to what they have today at Bui, said theirs is quite a massive improvement and the communities were happily living together.
Apart from the accommodation, the livelihood of the affected people had been restored through the provision of new farmlands whilst the fisher folks also ply their trade inside the Bui reservoir.
By Julian Owusu-Abedi
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