BY SAMIE WAIKORI
RITE TRADE Logging Company’s move to log Suruniai tribal land in East Are Are is being questioned.
A Mr Aloysio Arukeni from Sihu village in East Are Are questions the eligibility of the land since it is not under the company’s concession agreement.
He said currently the logging company and members of his subsidiary licensee, Tai’are are manipulating individual landowners of Suruni’ai to sign the tribal land for harvesting.
Arukeni complains that the move taken is completely outside of the required legal proceeding under the forestry act.
“It is obvious that there is a standard legal requirement under the forestry act in placed to attain to customary land for harvesting. There must be land consultation to inform the land owners on the proposal, and public timber right-hearing must also conduct so landowners can share their views on the proposal. Nothing of such happened for landowners of Suruni’ai tribal land or people in the area to aware of it and Suruni’ai never under the company’s concession area.”
Arukeni said what everyone knows is the company’s concession area ends in Rani tribal land. He said the company had also recently put up a three-month notice that they would leave.
“Thus, the landowners want to know whether such approach is legal under the forestry act. And if its, why not all landowners consulted on the matter? The approach taken is like a broad daylight roping on the resource owners while they are there and undermine their rights to have any say on their resources.”
Arukeni calls upon the commissioner of forest to investigate this, and appeals to Rite Trade logging company, Tai’are licensee and individual landowners involved to follow legal procedures.