Fri, Sep 04, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Liu seeks to calm Aborigines' fears over land

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said yesterday the government would not expropriate lands from Aborigines without their consent when they resettle in other places because of safety concerns.

Dozens of mountain villages populated mainly by Aboriginal tribes were devastated by Typhoon Morakot last month and they are being assessed by the government to determine their safety, with the results expected next week.

Amid concerns that tribes that are resettled would be deprived of their lands, the Executive Yuan’s post-Typhoon Morakot Reconstruction Committee issued a press release.

While promising that Aborigines would retain their lands after resettlement, Liu said they would have perpetual use of the houses and land on which the new villages are built.

Liu said that although the government would technically still own the land provided by state-owned enterprises on which victims new houses would be built, he promised the victims perpetual land-use rights and house ownership that would pass from generation to generation.

In related news, Liu said that about 90 percent of the 24,950 displaced victims had been moved out of temporary shelters and into military camps, veterans’ houses or rented accommodation, with monthly compensation ranging between NT$6,000 and NT$10,000 per household.

As of yesterday, there were still 388 victims living in 10 shelters.

When approached by reporters at the Executive Yuan for comment yesterday, Council for Economic Planning and Development Chairman Chen Tain-jy (陳添枝) said the council would present a proposal that imposed restrictions on the use of land in typhoon-hit areas on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet yesterday approved a budget request of NT$120 billion (US$3.6 billion) for post-disaster reconstruction over four years.

The Post-Typhoon Morakot Reconstruction Special Act (莫拉克颱風災後重建特別條例) which recently cleared the legislature entitled the debt-laden government to raise funds by taking out special loans without being subject to the debt ceiling stipulated in the Public Debt Act (公共債務法).

Of the NT$120 billion special budget, NT$41.4 billion would be used in the first year, NT$49 billion in the second year, NT$22.7 billion in the third year and NT$6.9 billion in the final year.

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