The Ashaiman Municipal Assembly has pulled down kiosks and other structures that are inhibiting the free movement of vehicles and persons in the central business district.
The decongestion exercise also cleared hawkers off the streets and pavements in the municipality.
It was in response to an accident that occurred last Thursday in which one person died and six others were injured after a vehicle veered off the street and ran into traders selling on the shoulder of the road.
When the Daily Graphic visited the Ashaiman central business area last Friday, it found that in spite of the gruesome accident, some traders were unperturbed and had displayed their wares along the road.
In an interview, the Municipal Chief Executive for Ashaiman, Mr. Albert Boakye Okyere, expressed regret over the incident, saying the assembly had built over 500 market sheds for traders at Adjei Kojo, the VALCO Flats, and Afariwamarkets and yet traders had deserted them to sell on the streets.
According to Mr. Okyere, the new market had enough space and stalls to accommodate the traders and hawkers in the municipality and advised them to move in.
He disputed an assertion that the prices of the sheds were exorbitant, explaining that the GH¢7,000 cost could be paid in installments.
On the issue of the toll that is collected by the assembly from traders who occupied the streets and pavements, the MCE said the collection did not mean that the assembly endorsed their stay on the streets.
He indicated that the money collected went to augment the assembly’s treasury and a part was used in funding the collection of refuse that the traders generated.
While admitting that the presence of traders on the streets was appalling, the MCE said he was ready to tackle the situation head-on and called on the traders and the public to heed the bye-laws and regulations of the assembly.
“The accident should serve as a wake-up call for everybody in Ashaiman. Though it is the duty of the assembly to ensure compliance of bye-laws, it is also the responsibility of the people to comply with the rules,” he stressed.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashaiman, Mr. Ernest Norgbey, has visited the injured persons on admission at the Tema General Hospital and urged the assembly not to relent on the decision to decongest and evacuate traders from the streets in the municipality.
He encouraged the assembly to ensure that all traders settled in the new markets at Adjei Kojo and other places, saying should the spaces in the new market not be enough to accommodate all the traders, the assembly would have to secure other spaces to accommodate them.
“The leadership of the assembly must not be afraid of political consequences that may result from the exercise but rather muster the courage and demolish all buildings and structures sited at unauthorized places to ensure there is sanity in the municipality,” he said.
Some traders, in an interview, threw their weight behind the decongestion initiative.
The Market Queen for Ashaiman, Madam Leticia Ayabah, urged her colleagues to understand that there was danger in selling on the streets and pavements.
“I encourage the assembly to carry on with the exercise but I also urge them to find spaces and build more markets in the municipality,” she said.