About seven kilometres of the sleepers between the old Asankare rail station and Konongo stretch have been completely ripped off.The Daily Graphic has learnt that the last thievery at the abandoned station — now being housed by two cocoa buying companies, Olam and Ajumpa — took place last Monday during a downpour.
One of the few retirees of the Railways Corporation who currently occupies one of the dilapidated quarters, Mr Evans Kofi Dorledzi, confirmed the story to the Daily Graphic during a visit to the site.
He said he woke up last Tuesday morning to find out that 34 of the sleepers were "gone".
The man, who had worked with the corporation for 39 years, said security for the property had been poor.
“I have now retired from the company, so I cannot risk waking up at night to patrol the site. I will be doing so at my own risk," Mr Dorledzi said.
MinistryThe Ministry of Railways Development is to route the reconstruction of rail lines through strategic areas that would be economically viable and beneficial to the entire country.
The lines are to cover areas where economic activities are brisk in order to have more cargoes to be able to repay an Exim Bank loan secured for the project.
A team of engineers from the China Civil Engineers Construction Corporation (CCECC) was recently in the country to conduct a feasibility study on the project, but the looting of the iron sleepers and encroachment on rail lines and lands between Asankare, Konongo and Kumasi are likely to impede the project on the Central spine (the northern part) of the country.
Last year, the Minister for the sector, Mr Joe Ghartey, dropped the hint that plans had been put in place to evict illegal occupants of rail lands, especially at Konongo and Kumasi, and also compensate legal occupants to give way for the project to take off.
It appears, however, that the plans have stalled.
The Kumasi-Northern Region lines are to be re-routed through areas such as Nyinanin, Bibiani, Goaso, Sunyani and other adjoining towns through to the north.
The new design is to prevent the Ghana Railway Development Authority from pulling down almost every structure on the Adum-Northern Region stretch of the lines.
The entire project, which has been estimated at $7.8 billion, has been segmented into three parts — the Eastern line (which is from Tema through Accra to Kumasi), the Western line (Kumasi to Takoradi) and the Central Spine (from Kumasi to the north).