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Businessmen challenge Chatan claims to lands

Date Posted: 2005-12-08

Businesses operating on reclaimed lands within Chatan Town are screaming foul over the municipality’s claims their land belongs to the government.

Seven vendors are taking the state to court, challenging a reclamation lands ruling that the lands they’ve been using actually belong to Chatan Town. One vendor says “We’ve been doing business for more than 20 years, so the land is already mine.”

The state says the businessmen have been illegally using the land, but the vendors say it’s not so. “Hey! This land is mine. I paid a lot of money when I bought it from one guy.” Another says “Me too. I paid a lot of money for this land.” Government officials say the vendors have been using the government land, called ‘zero land’, for a long time. Still, they’ve been doing it without permission, according to the government. One even used it as an industrial waste site.

The first case has already been to court, and the vendor lost. He’d said the land was his because he improved upon it. That case dragged on in court for so long, the vendor had time to sell the land to the seven who are now petitioning the court for relief.

A fire at the site November 19th focused public attention on the reclaimed land, and sent government officials scurrying to fix the problem. Trashed tires had been burned, and neighbors surrounding the reclamation site were complaining.

The court process will take time, and some officials estimate the vendors will be able to operate 5-8 more years before the court rules.

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