Whose fault is it?

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A group of local land awardees have complained that the government’s policies to take back “idle plots” upon the expiry of land use terms, conflict with the city’s Basic Law.
‘The government’s repossession of an undeveloped land plot upon the expiry of concession terms clashes with the articles of the Basic Law that protect private property rights, which is also deepening conflicts in the city,’ reads a full-page Chinese-language statement signed by “a group of land concessionaries” posted in yesterday’s Macao Daily newspaper.
The group said in the statement that the non-development of many idle plots was due to: the lack of infrastructure facilities that did not allow conditions for the development; the government’s changes in urban planning that have frozen or halted the plans of the developers; and land awardees ceding their plots to the government for public use.
‘For example, the land plots accommodating the Golden Lotus Square, the provisional fuel bunker in Ilha Verde and the parking lot for casino buses in the Border Gate were ceded to the government for these public purposes, but the awardees are facing repossession by the government over these plots after 25 years,’ they claimed.
Following the implementation of the city’s new land law, no extension is allowed for a temporary or conditional land concession valid for 25 years, if developers fail to complete their projects on the site. In such cases, the sites will be reclaimed by the government.
But the group of concessionaires perceives this policy as unfair.

Growing city
‘Macau has experienced major changes in development in the past more than 20 years, to which not only land concessionaires have been adapting, but also the government. For example, the city’s LRT project has not had its proposal for the Peninsula routes confirmed after over 10 years,’ slammed the group.
‘This suggests the government has been making adjustments to its plans based on the changes in the city’s development. It thus should also allow concessionaires to make adjustments based on the environment,’ they added.
In 2009, the MSAR government identified 113 plots of land in the territory left undeveloped by their land grantees, of which 48 were designated to be reclaimed, as the land-lease holders were deemed liable for the delays in the development.
Since the government has started taking action to declare the related plots invalid, local land awardees have published statements defending their concession rights in the Chinese-language press from time to time. This statement is the third one this year, following two published and signed by: “a group of land concessions in Seac Pai Van” last month.
The Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosário said in the Legislative Assembly last month that the authorities had initiated procedures to reclaim 49 land plots since he took over the office in December 2014.