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Seizure of land plots in Astana is legal: General Prosecutor's Office 24 июля 2014, 14:31

Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office has concluded that seizure of land plots for public use in Astana complies with the legislation.
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Seizure of land plots for public use in Astana complies with the legislation. This conclusion was made by Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office, Tengrinews reports citing the press service of the General Prosecutor's Office.

Astana city administration is seizing land plots for public use to construct utilities and communications in place of the private houses. The owners are offered a sum of money or an apartment in exchange for the land plot seized. 99% of these land plots are garden plots and summerhouses purposed for gardening, but not for all-year-round domicile.

Several Astana residents complain that such actions taken by the city administration are illegal. Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office considered the residents' appeals and concluded that seizure of the land plots complied with Kazakhstan's legislation.

The audit showed that the procedure of land plots withdrawal did not contradict the legislation and the measures taken by the Astana administration did not pursue commercial benefit or any non-state interests. The land was confiscated for construction of roads and other facilities of municipal importance, or those related to implementation of state-run programs, the statement said.

Some or the land owners whose land was seized were not satisfied with the proposed compensation amount, and they put forward a demand to increase the compensation to 26 million tenge (around $142 thousand) or to provide 2-3 bedroom apartments in exchange.

The authorities explained that those plots were purchased by the land owners for $2,398 to $8,174, so even with the real estate prices spike of the last decade, the compensations offered by the government were more than adequate. Due to the failure to reach an agreement about the amount of compensation, the city administration filed a lawsuit asking the court to expropriate the land for public use.

The Astana administration won the lawsuit. The court ordered expropriation of land for public use in exchange for compensations in the amount of $17,982 to $36,508 depending on the land. The court emphasised that it took into account the economic interests of the sides, and the amount of compensation paid exceeded the amount invested into the land by its owners by more than three times.

Over the past four years more than 2 thousand land plots are seized. The city administration bought around 98 percent of them and provided equivalent land plots in exchange for the remaining 2 percent.

According to Kazakhstan's legisation, construction of summerhouses at gardening plots is not recognized as housing, but many residents use the summerhouses for a permanent residence.

Astana administration plans to seize all the gardening areas adjacent to the city to enable the city to expand further, and to build facilities like hospitals, kindergartens, schools, roads, parks and etc., astana.gov.kz reports.

In response to the protests of land owners, the city administration said that an average cost of a gardening plot seized by the state made around $21,800 - $27,245. According to the city administration, the majority of those land owners purchased their land plots in 1990s and 2000s when the average cost of a gardening land plot made $545.

The administration cited the case of Mrs. Serikbayeva as a example. In 2006 she purchased a land plot of 600 square meters at $5,789. The state offered here a compensation of $27,180 for the land. But Mrs. Serikbayeva was not satisfied with the compensation and demanded a 3-bedroom apartment or a monetary equivalent of a 3-bedroom apartment, which amounts to $87,184.

According to the municipal authorities, 1,807 land plots were seized for public use, and 373 of the land owners were unhappy with the compensation amounts and filed lawsuits.

Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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