Disaster looms as people encroach on railway

There are unbridled erections of new makeshift structures, shops, lorry stations and food joints on the sideways of the Accra-Nsawam and Accra-Tema railways.

Although in 2015, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) led by its immediate-past Mayor, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, demolished these unauthorised structures by squatters along the railway lines, Weekend Today can confirm that they (the squatters) have returned to their base with an alarming alacrity.

Weekend Today discovered that hundreds of squatters use the spots of land along the rail lines at Avenor, Graphic Road, Dzorwulu, Dome, Tesano, Achimota and Agbogbloshie-all in the capital city, Accra, as place for habitation and business.

Under the National Railway Act it is unlawful for any structure to be built within 100 feet of the rails. However, the squatters have built as close as five feet to the railway lines.

This law, according to our checks, is being breached with impunity.

The development is greatly posing danger to hundreds of Ghanaians who are currently living along the railway lines.

When Weekend Today visited these areas yesterday, it observed that some traders go to the extent of displaying their wares on the railway lines, only to rush to remove them at the sound of an approaching train.

The crossing keeper at Avenor who spoke to Weekend Today expressed his disappointment at the way and manner people disregarded the danger trains posed to human lives and properties.

According to him, he is sometimes insulted when he tries to caution people and drivers to be careful with their movement on the rails.

He pointed out that somewhere last month he had to shout on top of his voice to save the life of a middle-age woman and man who were speaking on mobile phone while at the same time crossing the railway ahead of an oncoming train.

At Avenor, Weekend Today sighted a refuse container sitting close to the railway which was full to capacity.

The whole place was littered with all manner of rubbish, some wrapped in black plastic bags.

At the Dome station, workers complained about how squatters have made their work difficult by dumping all manner of waste materials on the rails.

To this end, they called on the minister of railways and the AMA to eject the squatters to prevent any possible disaster.