Taskforce Targets Traders On Accra Railway
Joe Ghartey (standing) addressing the traders
A SPECIAL taskforce for preventing trading activities along the Accra railway line is expected to be inaugurated by the Minister of Railways Development, Joe Ghartey, in two weeks’ time.
The taskforce is to be formed by traders at the Katamanso Market in Accra who have pleaded with the Minister to open the eight gates along the line, beginning from the Graphic Road to the Accra Railway Station.
The gates were closed somewhere in 2018 when rehabilitation works commenced on the track and recently the Graphic road gate was reopened upon the visit to the line of Mr. Ghartey.
But with the reported return of trading activities along the line, the gate had to be closed about a week ago.
The closure of the various gates was to prevent trading activities along the track which railway authorities believed posed danger to human lives and caused inconvenience to the operations of the rail line.
However, Chairman of Ashiedu Keetkey Sub Metro, Seth Raymond Tetteh, told DGN Online that “the last time we went there we realized people were selling on the rail line.”
But the traders including second-hand cloth dealers, foodstuffs vendors, among others, after failed attempts to use threats of demonstration to get the Minister to forcibly open the gates, engaged him in a dialogue on Friday, May 24, at the Accra Railway Station where they appealed to him to have the gates opened.
According to them, due to the closures of the gates, they were losing customers as it was difficult for buyers to access the market.
Due to the difficulty in accessing the market, they said, customers, especially those from Kaneshie direction preferred to buy from those selling by the roadside rather than going through hassles to enter the Katamanso Market.
Again, they raised concerns that the closure of the gates has made movement in and around the market very difficult for them and their children.
Mr. Ghartey as a way of helping address the situation in a win-win manner for both the railway company and the traders, proposed to the traders to form a taskforce.
He said the traders should nominate individuals to form the taskforce and those individuals backgrounds would be checked to ensure they do not have criminal records.
According to him, the taskforce would be in charge of the gates but warned that if it comes up after the formation of the taskforce that people are allowed to trade on the line, the gates would be closed again.
It emerged at the meeting that some staff of the railway company were having romantic relationship with some of the traders and as a result allowing them to trade on the track, causing refuse on the line.
Mr. Ghartey indicated that it was unacceptable for anyone to trade on the railway.
He said “we must understand that change has come. There is nowhere around the world where people sell on the railway.”
The Minister urged the traders to ensure the right thing is done always, noting that coming from a humble background, he understands that the traders have to do business to cater for their wards but not through the wrong means.
“My mother struggled. So I cry your cry,” the Minister told the traders, but insisted that trading activities would never be allowed to take place on the track.
Mr. Ghartey called for attitudinal change among the traders and encouraged them to undertake educational campaigns aimed at getting people to understand that the railway is not a place for selling goods.
BY Melvin Tarlue