Even the “Not Meaningful Dams” are a Rip-Off

I took time to visit a number of Dams constructed under the 1V1D policy. I lowered my expectations because the dams come with a special warning label from the Minister of special initiatives saying “these dams are not meaningful dams. They cost 250,000 GHS each. Be warned!” All I can say is my heart still bleeds. Even my low expectations were too high. I still have images of these mud ponds flashing across my mind every now and then. How can the poor be rippe-off in this manner? Some of these dams have no water even in January.

In some, I saw pigs trying to make use of the remaining mud while it lasted. Some dams had their enbankment washed-off which technically means no dam had been constructed. To put it simply, some of the dams are breaking-off and drying-off like the falling campaign platform on which their construction was announced. In some places, I noticed that the well-to-do in those communities who could afford motorized pumps and “expensive petrol” were busy pumping water to the few square meters of garden they had constructed. The poor in the communities watched in amazement.

One told in my native gurune “tarima kan yange ko) kala” Meaning someone who is not well-to-do cannot use this dam. Yet these dams were intended to help the poor. I must admit that there was something of high quality I noticed. The pictures and signboards thanking the people who provided the dams. Ah! These were superb.

Now let me get to why I started this piece in the first place. The Minister of special initiative almost got us. If she thought by saying the dams cost only 250,000GHS we will be grateful for any pothole in a valley she should come again.

In almost all instances, the principal equipment used in the construction of the dams was a bulldozer or excavator. No spillway, no canals (so no cement), no preparations of adjoining lands. There were no stone reinforcements in the embankments. The cost of 250,000 GHS is a rip-off. By the work I saw, it should not take a bulldozer 10 days to do those jobs. It cost about 1,500GHS to rent a bulldozer a day. If it is the diesel guzzling type, you may spend 500GHS a day on diesel. That works to about 20,000GHS. Let me even say the bulldozer is the lazy type and used 30 full work days and not 10 days. We are talking about 60,000GHS.

To put it simply, those mud ponds dont cost half of what they are estimated to cost. The poor have again been given a raw deal and someone must answer.
Good morning from the Citizen.”

Source: Dr Michael Ayamga-Adongo, Senior Lecturer UDS

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