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Peasants Are not Allowed to Privatize Their Lands at the Seaside in Adjara

05.03.2007
In the Adjara region, land reform has become too urgent since the population of the Khelvachauri District was deprived of their plots in order to build autobahn. The district Governor, Rezo Shavelidze, explained to the complaining peasants that the decision was made out of state interests. After that the population got scared that in the case of land reform, they would not have chance to privatize their plots. Rezo Kokoladze from Gonio thinks that nobody will take their interests in consideration in future too. “There is total anarchy in the district. They sell out land and harass our rights. They tell us to wait for privatization. It is obvious that they are not going to carry out reform until they sell the whole area.”

The reform should have been finished in 2006 in Adjara. However the deadline has been postponed. Murman Dumbadze, a member of the Republican Party, said that the privatization process was postponed out of the interests of private people. “Recently, the area at the seaside has become too attractive for the Adjara and Central Governments. The lands should not have been transferred to the population for further privatization and there was a deadline fixed for the purpose. By the end of 2006 the reform should have been finished and the land should have been granted to the peasants. The president’s resolution in 2004 confirmed the initiative too. Unfortunately, all fixed deadlines were breached because of the most part of land is sold and the high ranking officials are going to purchase the rest of it.”

Local authority is preparing a new legal document on carrying out reforms. Merab Dzirkvadze, the chief of the Environmental and Natural Resource Department, is the member of the commission that is working on new reform framework. “The state commission has already been introduced with the framework. We demand to postpone the deadline for one year. Besides that the amendments should be made to the law adopted in 1992. After that the reform will be restarted in Adjara.’

As for the Black Sea area, the peasant’s suspicion that the reform might not be carried out in the area, can be quite true. Dzirkvadze stated that the main argument for the situation is state interests. He said that the place was declared as a designated resort area and could not be privatized in order to develop tourism infrastructure.

Land reform has been postponed for one more year in Adjara region. After it is finished, the peasant will be able to cultivate the 2 500 sq. meters land according to their will. However, meanwhile they are not able to use the plots at the seaside.

Irma Zoidze, Batumi

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