The National- Wednesday, January 26, 2011
By JUNIOR UKAHA
THE Department of Lands and Physical Planning is urging landowners who have grievances about development taking place on their land to discuss the matter with the department.
Acting Lands Secretary Romilly Pat made the call after numerous complaints were raised in the media about private companies illegally acquiring land and the government keeping quiet about them.
“I urge landowners to come to my office so that we can discuss their land issues,” Pat said.
Pat commented on a case last week where two Hanuabada clans to land portion 2585(c) and 2399(d) locked gates to Garamut Enterprise Ltd and Curtain Brothers properties along the Poreporena Freeway in Port Moresby.
He said his department was always ready to hear landowner grievances but so far he was not aware of any landowners from the two portions of land approaching his office to discuss their problems.
Pat said the land ownership issue was just one concern that his department dealt with and there were other areas such as land verification, registration and surveying that the department was responsible for.
He has assured landowners that lands officers were there to help them and that they should come forward.
However, Pat said there were proper processes and procedures involved in dealing with such matters, and urged the aggrieved landowners not to destroy properties of companies occupying their land illegally.
The landowners, meanwhile, said that the government, Garamut Enterprise Ltd and Curtain Brothers had taken advantage of their nature as peace-loving people and had trespassed on their land and operated on it illegally.
Geakone ILG spokesperson Dirona Lohia said if only they were approached by the government and the developers and had a greater say in how their land was used, then they would not have had any problems with the parties involved.