It appears President John Evans Atta Mills did not know the true state of affairs on the site of the University for Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, the Volta Regional capital, when he met the press in the castle last Monday.
The President in his reaction to a question on the status of the two new universities in the Volta and the Brong Ahafo regions noted that the work was earnestly going on at both sites.
In the case of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UNIHAS) in Ho, he said if one should take a trip to the site at Sokode, one would find work seriously going on with some Chinese contractors on the land working.
He added that some infrastructure is being developed for lecture halls and residence for the top management of the university.
In attempt to confirm the President�s assertion, DAILY GUIDE took a tour of the site and the area for the temporary lecture halls and residence for the top management as noted by the president. As a result, DAILY GUIDE can say on authority that as at last Monday and Tuesday 9th and 10th January, when the paper toured the place, there was no Chinese or any contractor on the site of the University for Health and Allied Sciences (UNIHAS) in Ho.
Attempts to even get the name of the Chinese construction firm that the President mentioned were on site working were to no avail. As the Schedule Officer, Innocent Gavua who was directed by the Chief Director, Kwamena Akwa to assist this reporter could not readily give this information. He however directed the reporter to the Regional Planning Officer, Mr. Afenyo, who noted that he was aware of the Chinese visit to the land but could not tell which company they represented.
Meanwhile, the site for the ancillary facilities, thus the two lecture halls, offices and four bungalows had work seriously ongoing. The bungalow for the Vice Chancellor and the Pro Vice Chancellor was under renovation as it was formerly occupied by some staff of the VRCC.
But for the actual site where the president cut a sod in February 2011 last year, not even a head pan or shovel could be seen on the site let alone a pickup truck or tractor. The president�s assessment that tremendous developments were ongoing on the Green Valley campus of the university could not be true as the only development on it was the clearing of the land which was done late last year after government came under intense pressure for delaying the project.
The chiefs in the region led by the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and President of the regional House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede, has blamed the delay in the take off of the university to the government, saying that it should not have cut the sod for work to begin when there was no money as well as enabling law to back the establishment of university.
The clearing of the place as gathered by DAILY GUIDE is part of a project to clear and construct an access road through the university from the main Ho-Accra highway to some surrounding villages, particularly Adaklu Kodzobi and Adaklu-Vodze. The access road which is earmarked to be about 18km will have portions of it earmarked for about two roundabouts.
InfrastructureAs it stands now, if there is any development on the site then that will be the mere clearing of the area, which is even not complete due to some bottlenecks. DAILY GUIDE investigations revealed that the clearing had been stalled due to some encroachments on private lands and property of some individuals and groups. A situation that has sparked huge compensation claims of affected persons.
A source at the Ghana Highways Authority told DAILY GUIDE that due to the agitations late last year over the delay in the developments of the university, the Ministry of Roads and Highways stepped in and asked the Highways authorities to survey and design access roads at the site to make way for some infrastructure development.
As a result, a survey team from the head office of the authority came in to survey and design the access roads. This was followed by a contract that was given to MESSRS USUYA Ghana Limited to clear and construct the road as designed. During the process, it came to light that some lands had been encroached on with some of the victims threatening court action and huge compensation claims. At this point, the Town and Country Planning District Office came in and confirmed the encroachments.
The Town and Country Planning office noted that there was an initial demarcation of the access road which has been distorted by the new design by the Highways authority. Town and Country Planning was then asked to go and peg out the original demarcation for the access road to help the highways to make amendments in its design to help the contractor continue its work.
Checks at the Volta Regional Coordinating Council, VRCC which is overseeing the construction of the project in the region, noted that there had been some visits of a Chinese delegation to the region from the latter part of last year to the beginning of this year. Their last visit was last Friday, the 6th of January 2012. The source noted that the Chinese had not actually started work but are holding a series of meetings with some stakeholders within the construction industry.
These stakeholders include the Ghana Highways Authority, Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Water Company, Lands Commission, Town and Country Planning among others. The Chinese and a team from Accra according to DAILY GUIDE investigations were expected in the region.However, work was seriously ongoing on a parcel of land close to the Regional Hospital also known as �Trafalga�. When DAILY GUIDE got there, four residential apartments believed to be for the Registrar and other top officials were nearing completion. The temporary lecture halls, which are just a stone�s throw away from the four bungalows were also under construction with one of them almost completed.
The other lecture hall only had the skeletal structure raised. An office building was also completed at the time DAILY GUIDE inspected the place. The apartments earmarked for the Vice Chancellor and Pro Vice Chancellor was also under renovation by Hamza construction and Blessed Company Limited respectively.
The twin building which belongs to the VRCC and was being occupied by its staff had men on site working seriously. The staff had earlier been given alternative accommodation to make way for the university�s top men.
It would be recalled that the NDC in its manifesto promised two state-owned universities, one in the Volta Region (University for Health and Allied Sciences) and the other in the Brong Ahafo region (University of Renewable Energy). As a result, in February last year, the president cut the sod for the Health and Allied Science University in Ho, precisely at green valley within the Sokode Traditional Area.
The President promised that the university would start its first enrolment in September but as it stands now, the green valley site can only boast of an 18km access road clearing and a handful of infrastructure for lectures, an office block and bungalows for the top hierarchy.
The delay had been blamed on absence of enabling law to back thetheir establishments. Consequently, Parliament in the latter part of last month before it rose for recess, gave legal backing to the two additional public universities to exist as fully-fledged tertiary institutions in the country, even though they were listed as part of the action year projects.
This followed the passing of the University of Health and Allied Sciences Bill 2010 and University of Energy and Natural Resources Bill 2010.
Deputy Minister of Education Mahama Ayariga moved the motion for the third reading of the bills and was seconded by Mathias Puozaa, MP for Nadowli East, who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education.
The University of Health and Allied Sciences to be located in Ho and Hohoe in the Volta Region seeks to serve as a pre-eminent research and practical oriented health education institution dedicated to community service to contribute to the needed human resources for the development of the health sector.
When fully established, the university would have eight schools and two institutes. There would be a mentoring arrangement in the initial stages when the university would be affiliated to the University of Ghana, Legon; College of Health Sciences with faculties and departments at Legon serving as mentors.
Source: Fred Duodu, Ho/D-Guide
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