Lao EconomyRules and Law

Ministry Orders Action To Address Land Disputes, Unlawful Land Occupation

Source: Vientiane Times

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has ordered provincial and district line departments to take actions to address land disputes, unlawful land occupations and related issues.

The order came as increasing numbers of cases involving land issues have emerged in recent years prompting the government to form a taskforce committee to investigate and address the issues.

Deputy Director General of the Ministry’s Land Administration Department MrAnothaiChanthalasy told Vientiane Times yesterday that the taskforce committee was required to conclude their works and report their outcomes to the government by October.

It was reported previously that the government has told the committee to inspect land concessions and the transfer of land use rights in various cases after learning these issues had been causal factors in disputed cases emerging in recent years.

The committee will also inspect the implementation of the government’s policy to turn assets into capital, which has seen state departments approaching investors to build new offices for them in suburban areas in exchange for usage of the state lands where their old offices were located, generally closer to the city centre.  The inspection came as reports emerged that many projects implemented under the turning-asset-into-capital scheme were not properly included in relevant socio-economic development plans thus were not approved by the National Assembly.

Additionally, many of these projects did not undergo open bidding processes in violation of the relevant regulations.

Additionally, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said recently that a number of fake documents had been produced claiming usage rights of state lands by various individuals and organisations.

The inspection will also find out if local people’s lands have been occupied unlawfully as well cases of the inappropriate occupation of proximate state lands by members of such communities.

Mr Anothai said Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Sommad Pholsena issued several notices giving guidance on how best to take actions to address these issues.”Authorities in charge will carry out a comprehensive inspection into land issues including the inspection of land registrations,” Mr Anothai said.

In his notice issued late last month, Mr Sommad recommended local people facing land disputes approach district offices in charge to seek solutions in line with the relevant laws and regulations.

The minister also called for the district and provincial authorities to collate submissions made by respondents and take appropriate actions to address the particulars of respective cases based on the law.

For those issues which district and provincial departments are unable to address, the officials are called upon to report to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment or higher authorities to seek guidance and solutions.

Those wanting to submit petitions concerning land disputes to the Ministry’s Land Department directly can do so through its reception desk, its petition box or through the ministry’s hotline No 1514.

Mr Sommad pledged that the Ministry would work with local concerned authorities to address the submitted issues.

He also told the provincial Natural Resources and Environment departments to report progress made in addressing identified land-related issues to the ministry on a regular basis.