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Kutunse residents to demonstrate against illegal tomato factory

The residents of Kutunse-Satellite have announced their intention to embark on a peaceful demonstration on Saturday, December 16, 2017 as part of an ongoing protest against the activities of an illegal tomato factory in the area.

According to a letter from the residents to the District Commander of Police for Adjen Kotoku, the two-hour long peaceful demonstration, will commence at 8 am from the main Kutunse-Satellite junction along the Amasaman-Kumasi highway.

The letter added that the residents will then proceed with the peaceful march through the main street to the Koans Estates and return to the main entrance of Happy Sunshine Company Limited, the tomato company being protested against.

“Sir, it is our view that the operations of happy sunshine company limited, in apparent defiance of a cessation order [a copy of which is attached to this letter] Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the company’s management, constitute not only a matter of egregious violate the sanctity of Ghana’s laws, but also a brazen challenge to the revered authority of the state of Ghana,” the letter said.

The EPA shut down the facility after a series of Citi News reports had revealed that the company was operating illegally in the residential area.

A notice of closure has been posted on the doors and walls of the factory after officials of the EPA, accompanied by the police went to the premises.

However, despite the order from the EPA and complaints from the residents, the factory has reopened and is operating again, with the support of the Ga West Municipal Assembly led by the District Chief Executive, Clement Wilkinson.

This has prompted the residents to threaten a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the owners of the facility as well as the Municipal Assembly.

‘Relocate’

The EPA had earlier held a closed-door meeting between management of the factory where the company was directed to move its operations to an industrial area, as their current location has not been zoned for such activities.

EPA officials, accompanied by Police storm the premises of the company

The Principal Programmes Officer at the Accra Regional office of the EPA, Sophia Vanderpuye, who confirmed the directive to Citi News on Tuesday, said: “At the meeting, it was made very clear to them that the site where they are operating is not appropriate for the kind of manufacturing activity that is going on there is wrong. We had got evidence of the thick smoke that was emanating from their chimneys into the atmosphere, and with the accompanying noise issues. Based on these, they were made to understand that the EPA cannot permit such an activity in a predominately residential area so they have to relocate.”

“They must find an appropriate location, most preferably, an industrial area where they can conveniently produce. The Assemblies have already zoned the areas.”

The tomato factory was fined GHc 15,000 by the EPA in August 2017 for operating illegally, whilst the company was also ordered to halt any form of production.

However, the management of the factory violated that order and resumed full production in November.

Residents at Korleman City, an estate at Kuntunse in the Ga West Municipality, where the Chinese factory operates, had raised concerns about how the activities of the company were affecting them.

By: Farida Yusif/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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