Land grabbing and other illegal activities on traditional and state land throughout the country have been blamed on the absence of provincial land and physical planning boards.
Minister responsible, Benny Allen, said only 5 out of 21 provinces, have this body in place. Mr. Allen said the onus is on respective Governors, to appoint provincial land and physical planning boards, to oversee lands deals in each province.
He made these remarks when receiving recommendations of over 700 applicants for land titles throughout the country, by the Lands Board today.
With a sigh of relief, the minister congratulated the lands board for a job well done in furnishing the files of 792 recommended applicants for land titles in various parts of the country. From the applications, Port Moresby received the most attention.
The minister explained that it will take a long process before the successful applicants are notified. He said the files of recommended applicants will be assessed thoroughly, including appeals by unsuccessful applicants.
Mr. Allen said his department is now following due processes to award land titles.
He said the department in the past was branded “a corrupt department”, due to the widespread inside deals resulting in duplicated land titles, land grabbing, and the inquiry into the Special Agriculture Business Leases.
He also said with the new electronic entry device, Technology one, such problems will be identified easily, and officers concerned will be dealt with accordingly.
In the meantime, he called on respective governors to establish provincial land and physical planning boards. He said this body will oversee land deals so that issues such as land grabbing will be stopped at the provincial level.
Currently only Milne Bay, East New Britain, West New Britain, Morobe and New Ireland Provinces have land boards. Southern Highlands, East Sepik, Enga and Madang are in the process of establishing theirs.
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