TLTB issues 23 leases, tenants raise concerns

IN an effort to formalise informal settlement around the country, the iTaukei Land Trust Board has issued a total of 23 development leases through the Ministry of Local Government.

Board general manager Tevita Kuruvakadua said they were working with Government to provide infrastructure and proper scheme planning for these informal settlements and ensure they had access to amenities before TLTB could provide formal leases.

Mr Kuruvakadua said during their consultations in the North last week, they received concerns from disgruntled tenants who were dealing or have dealt directly with landowners regarding their leases.

“Most of the complaints we hear are part of the problem, for instance those dealing directly with landowners and turning to us when they have disputes because of land boundary issues,” he said.

“That is why we are saying that if someone is interested in leasing iTaukei land, the right thing to do is to visit our office and follow proper processes.

“We will conduct consultation with landowners and if everything is in order and the land is available, they can have their land.”

Mr Kuruvakadua said tenants needed to respect the processes that were in place.

“They must also respect that all iTaukei land is owned by iTaukei landowners and it is our job to consult them and ensure that all due diligence is carried out especially with other agencies,” he said.

“For instance, we cannot issue a lease on an area of 600 square metres because we will be breaching town and country planning regulations.”

Responding to concerns raised regarding land leases below 600 square metres, Mr Kuruvakadua said these lands were acquired by tenants through informal arrangements made between their forefathers and landowners in the past.

“However, these landowners allow them to stay on the land.

“It becomes a problem when tenants attempt to secure leases and our advice is for them to await a structured process to formalise informal settlements from TLTB,” he said.

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