The construction of a new 97.7 kilometer standard-guage railway line from Tema to Mpakadan has reached 45 percent completion stage, Indian contractors of the project have confirmed.
Mr Udai Veer Singh, General Manager of AFCONS Infrastructure Limited said, they would finish the project by June 2020 - one year clear of the contractual finish date.
"The project is in a very advanced stage. Total requirement of the out work is about 600 million cubic meter, out of it 400 million cubic meter have been completed. Sleepers production has started, rails have already arrived, probably from next month we will start laying the pools. At this point we are confident that we will finish it on 2020," he said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.
He said over 720 concrete sleepers for the project were locally produced every day and its production has employed 40 indigenes.
He observed that, the project would have employed 800 locals by the time it is completed in 2020.
He said this on Wednesday at Kpone Katamanso during the second day inspection tour by Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister of Railways Development.
He however noted that, their major concern was the level of encroachment along the kilometer 10-12 area of the construction plan.
He said the area which is at Avana in Kpone Katamanso has derailed the progress of the work because houses have been built on lands for the line construction.
"Unless the houses go and the electric utilities relocated, construction cannot be taken up in this area," he told the Minister.
Mr Yaw Owusu, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) said, close to 40 houses would have to be demolished to allow the project continue.
He said the land had long been allocated for railway purposes and so no compensations would be paid for the demolished houses.
He said the project was a multi-morga transportation system which would cross over the Volta River to Bupe and shorten the distance from Tema to Paga.
Mr Owusu told the GNA the project which will cost the country about $400 million would help the easy transport of freight to the northern part.
Mr Ghartey said he was impressed with the progress of work, adding that, he would solicit for any help needed to complete the project.
He said the project when completed would be the first passenger and freight line passing through the Volta region and would serve as the beginning for the Tema to Ouagadougou line.
According to him the country was purchasing standard-guage rolling stock for all its new lines to be constructed.
He said the inspection was part of program by the Ministry dubbed 'enhanced monitoring program' aimed at ensuring that, the President's vision for development of quality railway system in the country was met.