Minister for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment Parveen Bala says Government is at the forefront of helping landowners in the Western Division to develop their lands.
“That is why we are currently doing subdivisions in almost 40 iTaukei pieces of land because we have that understanding and goodwill from the landowners as well,” he said.
“This initiative by Government will be a win-win situation for the Government and landowners.”
He said subdividing the land meant developing the land and in turn landowners also would receive their much-deserved share from the development.
He made these statements while speaking to people living at Varavu settlement in Ba yesterday.
Varavu settlement is resided by more than 160 people, most of whom are evicted farmers who previously had farms between Tavua and Sigatoka areas.
Mr Bala told them that they could not apply for any form of grants or incentives given to lease title holders yet, but they could do so soon once they have a registered lease.
“So that is why Government has moved in because we want to work with the landowners to upgrade their land as well,” he said.
He said Government would put money in to these subdivision projects of iTaukei lands, including paying the survey fees to the iTaukei Land Trust Board (iTLTB).
“Government has put aside $750,000 for that as announced in the 2018/2019 National Budget,” Mr Bala said.
Chief welcomes opportunity
Turaga na Tui Ba Filimoni Nale Lagivala said it was about time landowners took up these opportunities, changing their mind-set in terms of accepting their fellow Fijians to live and develop their lands.
“This is a good initiative by the Fiji Government because now we can develop our lands and at the same time help other Fijians who have been evicted off theirs to live on ours, living freely, happily and in harmony as Fijians,” Ratu Filimoni said.
An estimated 15 acres of land will be subdivided in the Varavu settlement area.
The Government has confirmed that development plans would be carried out in villages in Nadi to meet set requirements and support a bid to make the Jet-Set town a city.
Mr Bala confirmed this after learning Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama gave a similar reassurance at a talanoa session after opening the Ba Provincial Council meeting at Visesei Village, Vuda, last week.
Mr Bala confirmed that Government would carry out all the necessary developments in the surrounding villages in the Nadi in terms of connecting electricity and all the necessary services.
“We will work closely with the iTaukei Land Trust Board to ensure these villages are have sufficient water and electricity supply,” he said.