State wants land back

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CABINET has directed that all land allocated for the Konebada Petroleum Park but allegedly sold later to individuals be returned, according to Lands and Physical Planning Minister Justin Tkatchenko.
He told The National yesterday he had been directed by the National Executive Council to “compulsorily acquire all land” in Central which had been allegedly sold.
Tkatchenko said the piece of land in Central was allocated specifically for the industrial park, and only for commercial use.
He asked why the land was allegedly sold to individuals and companies that were not using it for petroleum or industrial purposes.
“It’s supposed to be for that particular purpose,” Tkatchenko said.
“That was what it was designed for. It had a good intention.
“The NEC deliberated on this a couple of weeks ago. I was directed to secure all that land that was sold for the wrong purposes.”
The land is managed by the Konebada Petroleum Park Authority.
Chief executive Donald Valu told The National last night that he had no response to what Tkatchenko said. He wants to wait for Petroleum Minister Fabian Pok to inform the authority on the Cabinet decision Tkatchenko was referring to.
Last year, the National Research Institute had raised concerns over the gazetting of the 23,000 hectares of land for the park in Central close to the LNG Project site.
Tkatchenko said the pieces of land allegedly been sold would be returned to the State for the petroleum minister “to use and lease to those companies who will be doing petroleum activities”.
He said the State had set up the park “to promote the (petroleum) industry to employ people, create jobs and revenue for the country”.