NATION

Days Of Living In Fear Over For Labourer

Sugarcane farm labourer Rajendra Prasad will no longer be in fear of living on State land. He was visibly moved when he received his 99-year lease yesterday after waiting for
29 Sep 2018 11:00
Days Of Living In Fear Over For Labourer
Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya with lease recipients at the Civic Centre in Labasa on September 28, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

Sugarcane farm labourer Rajendra Prasad will no longer be in fear of living on State land.

He was visibly moved when he received his 99-year lease yesterday after waiting for 20 years.

“Since childhood, I have been living in fear. We were once told by the previous Government to vacate the land,” Mr Prasad said.

He was one of 20 recipients in the Labasa dis­trict, who received their lease from the Min­ister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya at the Civic Centre in Labasa.

“With my income there was nothing we could do. We just managed with whatever we had without making a future investment,” Mr Prasad said.

Mr Prasad of Valebasoga is one of those who has been occupying the State land without le­gal tenure.

“I am not married, the land that I am living in was bought my parents,” he said.

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

Another lease recipient Jagdish Prasad 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 Prasad said.

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

“It was not until this Government stepped forth and today I am forever thankful to this FijiFirst Party for giving us hope,” he addedd.

Minister Koya said Government would con­tinue to ensure the provision of proper leases to those living in informal settlements.

“To call a place home, there needs to be a sense of ownership, belonging and security,” he said distributing leases and notices at Subrail Park in Labasa to residents.

“It had been the focus of the FijiFirst Govern­ment to provide proper leases to those living in informal settlements,” he said.

“Using these land leases as collateral, people have been able to secure loans from banks to start up small businesses and to invest in their children’s education.”

Edited by Percy Kean

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