The rightful owners are discriminated by even involving a bailiff
Česlav Olševski, Member of the Seimas from the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania-Christian Families Alliance, raised the issue of land restitution once again during the morning session of the Seimas (during the so-called government hour,) last Thursday, on 10th June. The subject of finalizing the process of restoring property rights, especially relevant to the inhabitants of the Vilnius Region, hardly appears in the public space anymore, although it is a priority for the state.
‘Although we can still hear that the restoration of property rights is a priority task for the state, according to the inhabitants of our cities, especially of Vilnius, this process is probably not going transparently. Most of the interested people did not regain their land in Vilnius. Vilnius residents justifiably express their indignation that in the situation when there is still free state land in Vilnius, being at the disposal of the National Land Service, and the Vilnius City Municipality has formed plots of free land, they are hidden from people,’ said Olševski.
The deputy emphasized that at the same time, in an extremely categorical manner – involving a bailiff, residents are already being paid a financial compensation, which is several hundred times lower than the market value of the land. Olševski asked the Ministry of Agriculture on its plans on how to solve this situation and how to complete the agricultural reform as soon as possible.
‘Mr Minister, what steps will you take to ensure that the National Land Service, under the responsibility of your ministry, as well as the Vilnius City Municipality, provides citizens with lists of plots of free state land and enables residents to recover their land? Even 10 acres will compensate the harm more proportionately than the monetary compensation. People are simply demanding justice,’ turned Olševski to Kęstutis Navickas, Minister of Agriculture.
The Minister of Agriculture admitted that the problem was important and that Mr Olševski was right to raise it. He emphasized that necessary legal acts will be probably adopted next autumn. They will concentrate the issue of land in one hand, namely in the hands of the Vilnius City Municipality. Therefore, there will be no mutual blaming between the Vilnius City Municipality and the National Land Service and, respectively, delays and omission.
According to Navickas, it is quite difficult to understand who is guilty for this situation: the National Land Service or the Vilnius City Municipality.
Aiming to restore justice, EAPL-CFA is now proposing to validate the provision that states the following – if the area of a plot of land handed over to a citizen free of charge in an urban area is smaller than the plot to which property rights are restored, then another plot for individual construction or for other purposes, not less than 0.04 ha, is additionally transferred free of charge in order to compensate for the remaining plot. Under no circumstances may there be compulsory financial compensation. The state can pay a monetary compensation only at the written request of a citizen.
This draft project prepared by EAPL-CFA increases the fair compensation for unreturned land in Vilnius by a second land plot. It is a proposal that aims to accelerate the land reform and finalize it.