December 10, 2015 Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Electricity and Distribution Supply Authority (EDSA) yesterday commenced the process of paying compensation to ninety-six (96) persons, with a reported US$300,000 to be paid out to those who should relocate because their houses are under high voltage cables straddling from Blackhall Road to Wellington in the east of Freetown.
Speaking at the ceremony at Ministry of Energy conference hall, Electricity House on Siaka Stevens Street, Minister of Energy Henry Macaulay said electricity is everybody’s business because it is a catalyst of development in any nation.
He thanked the beneficiaries for showing patriotism and graciously accepting EDSA’s terms and conditions in the interest of development.
He said their aim as a government was to provide electricity to every nook and cranny in the country, adding that one way they would achieve that is for everybody in the country to work in unison in the interest of development. He urged Sierra Leoneans to be watchdogs to protect government properties.
Environmental and Social Management Specialist, Rashida Kamara, said the purpose of the meeting was to compensate people affected by the hydro electrification project, adding that since last year they had been engaging affected persons by telling them about the hazards they could incur by living under high voltage cables.
She revealed that when the project commenced a company in South Africa was contracted to conduct a survey and that 92 houses were earmarked to be demolished from Blackhall Road to Wellington.
She said after payment the affected persons would also be provided with livelihood training as most of them into business.
Director General of EDSA, Alhaji Timbo, said everywhere in the city would be supplied with electricity when the project is complete.
Member of Parliament for Constituency 98, Hon. Karifala S. Conteh, whose constituents are affected by the relocation, expressed his delight about the compensation and pleaded with recipients to abide by the terms and conditions of the agreement.
One of the affected persons, Mabel Fallah, a Superintendent of Police, said the demolition affected her and her family, adding that they had no choice but to accept the compensation in return for development.