The Nation

Villagers get communal land title deeds

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday presented the country's first community land title deed to Ban Khlong Yong in Nakhon Pathom's Buddha Monthon district.

The move followed implementation of a PM's Office regulation on community land deeds, allowing the issue of title deeds to communities living on idle plots owned by the state to help them make a living from the land. However, individuals are not allowed to sell the land under the programme.After presenting the title deed covering 1,803 rai and 31 square wa to the village's cooperative, it was revealed that 80 households will get 20 rai each.The premier then had talks via video with Mae Awe community in Lamphun's Pa Sang district, which will receive the second community land deed in two weeks, plus the Ketkaew Ban Mankhong community in Ubon Ratchathani's Warin Chamrap district and the Khlong Koh Phi community in Phuket's Muang district. The government was willing to expand this programme, he said, but it depended on applicant communities' readiness. PM's Office Minister Satit Wongnongtoey said that 35 out of 187 communities that sought community land title deeds covering 700,000 rai were granted the documents, as they met a key condition showing they had the capacity to manage the land together.Abhisit told reporters later that the authority wouldn't be able to consider all communities seeking the deeds within the current government's term but he was confident that the next government would continue it. He said that if many important bills were not completed before Parliament was dissolved, he would proceed with them if he became premier again.Regarding the proposal by the National Reform Committee chaired by former PM Anand Panyarachun, which included restricting property ownership to 50 rai a family and applying a progressive land tax to discourage large-scale landholding, Abhisit said the proposal would be put to the Cabinet in two weeks.

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