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Five steps proposed to end illegal land ownership

May 26. 2018
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By THE SUNDAY NATION

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THE NATIONAL Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has proposed drastic measures to tackle the growing number of illegal land ownership cases, especially those concerning forest reserves, public land and undocumented land plots.

The agency’s five-point proposal will be submitted to the National Legislative Assembly for consideration on May 31. So far, more than 14,000 cases of illegal land ownership have been filed with the anti-graft agency, involving alleged wrongdoing committed by state officials, businessmen and residents.

According to the NACC, many local government officials have abused their authority by issuing illegal and dubious land documents in return for bribes. For example, documents are issued for land plots located in forest reserves, in areas owned by the public or in areas such as mountains where no ownership documents could be issued.

The agency’s first proposal is that the government turn to tax scrutiny and land use measures to tackle these cases, with the Land Department and other related agencies ordered to enforce the rules and regulations strictly.

In addition, previous regulations restricting land ownership in some circumstances should be re-instated. Also, new ownership documents to be issued for land plots in tourist provinces such as Phuket and Chiang Rai must be |subject to more stringent rules to prevent a further rise in illegal land ownership cases, according to the NACC.

The second proposal is that Sor Kor 1 documents issued for any undocumented land plots be revoked if document holders are unable to provide further ownership proof to land authorities so that they could issue full title deeds within the next 180 days.

Third, the government needs to launch an offensive against those encroaching on public land, while also updating the land database for the general public to cross-check. Fourth, use of aerial photographs of public land plots should be increased to verifying the validity of dubious land plots. Fifth, the government agencies with public land plots under their jurisdiction need to strictly enforce rules and laws.

 

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