Lease for squatters

ABOUT 350 squatter settlement residents in Tauvegavega, Ba, will receive proper leases.

This is after the Ministry of Local Government was given the green light by the iTaukei Land Trust Board to develop a housing settlement in the area.

Minister for Local Government Parveen Kumar said the development would offer proper leases to the informal settlers and new residential lots to new homeowners.

“Currently there are about 350 informal sitting tenants and after this subdivision we will be able to have 900 lots,” he said.

“The first priority will be given to the sitting tenants and after they are given their leases, the spare lots will be given to those who do not have a land or a house.

“I would urge those people who do not have land and those who intend to build their own homes and they are currently renting to register their interest with the Ba Town Council.

“After the completion of the subdivision, we will prioritise those who had registered their interest.

“It will be fully serviced lots with proper roads and electricity and water supply.”

Mr Kumar said the development would also ensure a secured future for residents.

“For years, these residents have been living in a squatter settlement. Some of them have been living there for more than 30 to 50 years and what we want to see is if they have been living most of their lives in a squatter settlement. We don’t want their children to go through the same thing.

“We want their children to take over and take ownership of their houses and be able to develop and improve their standard of living.

“This is also for the new homeowners who want to have a more permanent base and foundation for themselves and their families.”

Mr Kumar said after a meeting last week with residents, work would begin in January next year.

“The cost of the development would be determined following the engineering plans for the project is completed.”

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