NATION

Datt’s 34 Years Of Waiting Over, Koya Distributes Land Lease

Sugar cane labourer Ram Datt, 67, could not hold back his tears when he received his 99-year lease after 34 years of waiting. He was one of the 70 recipients
28 Oct 2017 11:00
Datt’s 34 Years Of Waiting Over, Koya Distributes Land Lease
Ram Datt with his wife Bimla Wati holding their approval notice and 99-year lease at Subrail Park in Labasa on October 26. Photo:AFA KAUMAITOTOYA

Sugar cane labourer Ram Datt, 67, could not hold back his tears when he received his 99-year lease after 34 years of waiting.

He was one of the 70 recipients in the Labasa district who received their lease from the Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya on Thursday.

Mr Datt was one of those that have been occupying the state land(s) without legal tenure.

The families reside at Vitandra, Valebasoga, Boca and Anuve settlements outside Labasa.

“We have been drowned with fear while living here with my four children,” Mr Datt said.

“We were once told by Government to vacate the land, with my income there was nothing we could do,” he said.

“While living here we just managed with whatever we had without making a future investment.

“Now that we have confidence we will begin with a small income generating project such as poultry and goat farming.”

Nasrudin Khan, 63, of Vitandra, Labasa has been waiting for 17 years to have his own piece of land.

“Since the Department of Lands conducted a survey in 2003 I have been waiting,” Mr Khan said.

“I told my eight children and wife not to give up hope and wait till we are told to get out from the land,” he said.

It was not until this Government stepped forth and today I am forever thankful to this Fiji First Party for giving us hope.”

Ram Narayan, 65, a security officer of Boca, Labasa said now he would continue the extension of his two bedroom house.

“I had four bedrooms but when termites destroyed my two rooms I decided not to do extension and leave the land for another place,” Mr Narayan said.

“However, I couldn’t relocate my family,” the father of four children said.

“Being the sole breadwinner and receiving a low income did not put me in a position to be able to do some savings.

“Today, I am very happy because our lives have changed for the better,” “Thanks to this Government for rescuing us.”

Minister Koya said to call a place home, there needed to be a sense of ownership, belonging and security when he distributed the leases and notices at Subrail Park in Labasa to the residents.

“These 70 families will now have the peace of mind, of knowing that they and their children will have a place that they can call as their permanent home,” Mr Koya said.

“To date, the Government has regularised a total of ten informal settlements throughout Fiji, and distributed a total of 321 leases to their respective occupants; who are now enjoying their security of land tenureship.”

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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