Villages in land row

TWENTY-two villages in the Tailevu Province have raised concerns over land boundary issues which is the cause of continuous quarrels and tension in their village setting.

This worrying concern has prompted the provincial council office to advise its people of the proper channels to follow to solve these issues.

During a talanoa session last Friday with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, a villager from Naimasimasi said quarrels over land boundaries were causing tension and affected family ties.

The villager urged the Government to step in to resolve this issue before it got worse.

It is understood these native land boundaries were traditionally demarcated with piles of earth, gravel, stones or rocks depending on the material available.

Unfortunately, these were vulnerable to destruction by natural causes and were not reliable for demarcation purposes.

The villager said boundaries of lands that were not surveyed were sometimes lost to community members and the landowners themselves, with elders dying with the knowledge of the boundary locations and younger people moving out of the villages in search of employment.

Roko Tui Tailevu Iliesa Delasau said land boundary disputes had become an issue among villages in the province.

He said his office had been inundated with complaints from 22 villages on this issue alone.

“We told the concerned parties that if they are faced with such disputes, they have to pay for an independent surveyor to survey the land so everything is in black and white,” said Mr Delasau.

“At the moment, we’re liaising with the iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission (TLFC) which is responsible for registering the ownership of iTaukei lands and customary fishing rights.”

Mr Delasau said the TLFC, which had records of registration of iTaukei lands since 1880, would be the best party to look into the issue.

Attempts to obtain a comment from the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs proved futile.

The government institution is undertaking demarcations of boundaries and surveying iTaukei land to ascertain what land and fishing areas were the rightful property of iTaukei as well as the ownership of lands; and the classification of customary roles and migration records of communal units.

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