Savura landowners: TLTB confirms special water catchment lease

A Government vehicle entering the gate to the Savura dam yesterday. Picture: ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA

THE iTaukei Lands Trust Board (TLTB), the Ministry of Lands and the Ministry of Forests are verifying whether there was any compensation payment made to landowning units of Colo-i-Suva Village since the beginning of the lease.

In a statement today in response to the claim made by the iTaukei landowners where the Suva Water Supply Catchment Area (Savura) is located, the TLTB confirmed that a special water catchment lease was issued to the government in 1967.

The leased land, which covered a total land area of 100.8 hectares is owned by five landowning units – mataqali Solia (Navatuvula), mataqali Rokotarotaro, mataqali Valebure, mataqali Daunivurevure and mataqali Naisagavaki.

“What is currently being questioned by mataqali Valebure is whether there was a compensation paid to them for the standing trees since the beginning of the lease,” TLTB chief executive officer Tevita Kuruvakadua said.

He said they were now verifying whether there was any compensation payment done at that time.

He said although this was a lease issued 52 years ago, the annual lease payment had been reviewed from $2643 previously to the present annual rate of $120,000.

“The issue of compensation claimed by the landowners need to be clarified further with the Ministry of Lands,” he said.

Landowners from mataqali Valebure tried to close the dam last Saturday after what they claimed were unsuccessful attempts to get compensated for the trees on the leased land.

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