General News of Sunday, 26 February 2017
Ultimate news has uncovered ‘extortions’ from poor peasant farmers by the company contracted by government to connect farming communities with electricity in the Yilo Krobo district of the Eastern region.
The rural electrification project is being carried out by China International Water and Electric Company (CWE) limited in several farming communities in the district such as Aboabisiase, Aboaosoboniya, Opersika, Wruapong, Donor, Samlesi, Amanga, Sawa, Perpertifi and several other communities.
Even though government of Ghana is funding the cost of the entire project including metering, peasant farmers in these communities are being charged monies ranging from GHC40 to GHC100 before their houses are connected to the national grid.
Ultimate News’ Eastern regional Correspondent Kojo Ansah who visited some of the communities reports that the situation is exerting undue financial pressure on the poor farmers most of whom are struggling to pay.
According to the farmers, they have been told by a Ghanaian foreman of CWE, the Chinese company that their houses will not be connected with power if they fail to pay the money.
The farmers are therefore demanding answers from government if the monies being collected from them are legitimate.
Goats and Food for Contractors:
Farmers in the beneficiary communities claim that, they were asked by the company through their elders to contribute monies, goats, cock, food among other items to cook for the workers of the company in each communities they worked.
Labour work and injuries:
Farmers in the various communities were used free for labour work by the company in each community they operated.
Farmers who failed to participate have been pencilled down to be excluded in connecting their homes with electricity.
Farmers who suffered life threatening injuries during the labour work have been abandoned by the company.
One farmer is said to have been bedridden for weeks after a tree he was felling to pave way for high voltage lines fell on him and the company has neglected him to his fate.
John Apenahia, Dademankye of Pepetifi community told ultimate news, the community is in need of electricity to boost the local economy therefore there is nothing wrong with community members contributing monies to support the company, cooking for workers and providing manpower support to enable them complete the project on time.
However, a teacher in Wurapon one of the affected communities, Lord Agbemibiase told Ultimate news monies being collected from the residents are illegal, calling on government to intervene because the practice is widespread in the district.
All efforts made to get the side of the Chinese company have proven futile.