Government will soon demarcate boundaries in i-Taukei villages to deter land disputes and allow for better future planning.
Government has committed close to $348,566 to the project to ensure that all villages in Fiji are demarcated and gazetted as full i-Taukei villages by 2016.
The Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs permanent secretary Mr Savenaca Kaunisela said the work was being done in order of provinces with three provinces in the Northern Division already completing this process.
“It has been taken for granted over the years that, this is an i-Taukei boundary and the elders decided that the boundary is from here to there but when the idea of village bi-laws came in it could be easily challenged through the law,” Mr Kaunisela said.
Mr Kaunisela said thorough consultation processes are carried out with all villages in order to explain the reasons behind the land demarcation.
“When we go into the villages we sit with them for about an hour and explain the work we are doing and why we are doing it,” Mr Kaunisela said.
Mr Kaunisela added the talanoa sessions enable the villagers to think about future developments and amenities such as footpaths, reticulation systems and sewerage before the boundaries are drawn up.
He said in past, houses in villages were built in an ad-hoc manner but through the demarcation process, villagers are now advised to have a systematic way of building within boundaries.
The project has received a further boost with a separate budgetary allocation of $100,000 for the demarcation of un-surveyed land; while $148,586 has been provided for demarcation of village boundaries.
Divisional commissioners play an important role in formalising the demarcation process through witnessing the signing of a declaration forms by village elders on the agreed boundary.
“We bring this (form) and present it to the i-Taukei Board where they formally declare, that the village has officially fully become an i-Taukei village and is then gazetted in the official gazette,” Mr Kaunisela added.
“We prepare what we call the Registrar of i-Taukei villages, something like the Registrar of i-Taukei lands so we do the RTL and the RTV as well.”
The Ministry is currently working on demarcating villages in Kadavu.