- February 19, 2015
Forest or money – the owners of unrecovered land have one week to decide
Urban land owners who have not yet regained their rights to land, have only over a week to decide whether to apply for compensation in the form of the forest. To facilitate the choice to those undecided, yesterday in the House of Polish Culture held a meeting on the possibility of the return of land.
Urban land owners who have not yet regained the rights to the land, to March 1st 2015, can apply for the grant of rights of an equivalent value in forested rural area. This possibility of compensation appeared thanks to the efforts of the parliamentary faction of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania.
– Until February 10th (within six months), 332 people in Vilnius decided for compensation in the form of the forest. In Lithuania there were 800 such people – said Leokadia Poczykowska, the deputy minister of AWPL in the Ministry of Agriculture, during the meeting in the. Also Mr Michał Mackiewicz and vice mayor of Vilnius Jarosław Kamińska participated in the meeting.
Many of those who came to the meeting asked if they should decide whether to decide on compensation of unrecovered lands in form of the forest, or may it be better to choose money compensation?
Speakers emphasized that everyone must make their decision individually.- There is no one good answer- said Kamiński.
Poczykowska advised people who wish to apply for compensation in the form of the forest to leave parts of the urban land (12 acres) for their own construction, and take the rest in form of the forest (or possibly money). She assured that there is enough forest, even in the Vilnius region. For example In the Bezdańska municipality in Arvydai at this time there is approx. 500 hectares of forest. Also, you can see the offer in the neighboring areas: Trakai, Širvintos, Švenčionys. She reminded that on the website www.nzt.lt (see Laisvos zemes fondas) you can see where is the free forest. The former deputy minister did not hide that the offered forest is not the best, often of 4th category.
Kamiński added that those who decide on the forest, then it will be valued with taking into account the lost value of the land, that is, the more expensive the land, the more forest.
Some people were asking if they need to rush with the decision if they do not want the forest. Speakers indicated that they can only receive monetary compensation for unrecovered ground.
For those seeking to obtain monetary compensation, Poczykowska told that our country is not rich, and now a lot of money was directed to the defense of the country, so it is unknow when the former owners of the compensation money will be given. And they are small – compensation for 1 ha of urban land is 5-6 thousand litas.
Currently there are 4100 people waiting in line for regaining of the land ( up to 12 acres).
– By the end of the term, except for commercial lands, we plan to design the 560 parcels – said the deputy mayor. He added that debates with the Ministry of Agriculture on the allocation of territories for parcels take place, so the total number of parcels may increase.
During the meeting many other problems associated with the regaining of the land were discussed. The original owners lamented that despite living in a democratic country within 24 years of reform they cannot regain the land of their fathers. – And you may want to change ending if the last name on -as? If there are over 4000 people in line for the land, then at what age will we receive our parcels? – Those gathered at the hall did not hide their resentment against the state.
Paczkowska advises all who are undecided to think well before March 1st, so they will not regret it later.
If I had an urban land, I wouldn’t wait for the compensation but I would take the forest. Half a loaf is better than nothing – she said. She does not exclude the option that if the owner takes care of the forest, then they will be able to get more money for it than the current compensation. – Everyone should decide. Will grandchildren and great-grandchildren someday receive compensation and how much? And maybe someday grandchildren will enjoy the fact that he or she has the own piece of the forest? – Said the Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
As journalists of our site have learnt, some residents only this week received the notice of the possibility of obtaining compensation in the form of forest sent by the National Agricultural Service – although amendment enabling applying for this type of compensation for the land entered into force on November 1st last year.
Translated by Alicja Kępińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.