For discussion EC(97-98)15
on 28 May 1997


Subhead 001 Salaries

    Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following supernumerary posts for a period of five years -

    1 Government Land Agent
    (D2) ($102,900 - $109,250)

    1 Chief Estate Surveyor
    (D1) ($86,650 - $91,950)

    1 Chief Land Surveyor
    (D1) ($86,650 - $91,950)


The existing structure and directorate support of the Lands Department (Lands D) are inadequate to meet the workload arising from the land resumption, planning and related land administration work for the implementation of the high priority railway projects recommended by the Railway Development Strategy (RDS).


2. We propose to create the following supernumerary posts for a period of five years -

  1. one Government Land Agent (GLA) (D2), to head a new Railway Development (RD) Section; and

  2. one Chief Estate Surveyor (CES) (D1) and one Chief Land Surveyor (CLS) (D1) to provide support to the proposed GLA in the new RD Section.


3. The 1994 RDS has accorded high priority to the implementation of the Western Corridor Railway (WCR), the Tseung Kwan O Mass Transit Railway Extension (TKE) and the Quarry Bay Congestion Relief Works (QBR), amongst other railway projects. These railway projects call for the prompt and timely delivery of requisite land for the construction of railway lines and superstructure developments of stations and depot facilities. This entails a complex and time-consuming process of land-related planning, resumption and administration works. They include refinement of railway alignment and assessment of land implications, completion of statutory procedures, clearance of sites, licensing of land to the railway corporations for construction, arrangement of land grants, vesting of sites for property development, negotiation and settlement of compensation claims. Vested with the statutory powers for land resumption, the Director of Lands (D of Lands) is responsible for the works related to this complex process. In the following paragraphs, we set out the anticipated land demands and land production programme in the coming five years for the projects.

4. Phase I of the proposed WCR will necessitate resumption and clearance of some 81 hectares of private land straddling four districts in the New Territories (NT). The major work involves about 1 280 private lots, many of which are in multiple ownership. They include two multi-storey factory buildings one of which comprises about 500 factory interests, and over 60 village-type houses of which resumption will necessitate a complex compensation package. Besides, we have to remove some 400 graves in the NT area. Along with the private lots, we have to clear 145 hectares of Government land and resettle inhabitants of a temporary housing area. We estimate the total net resumption and clearance costs to be about $3.5 billion. To enable the completion and commissioning of Phase I of the proposed project by 2002-2003, we need to commence land resumption work and complete all related works for delivery of land to the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) to commence construction in mid 2000. Thereafter, we will focus on the settlement of compensation claims and the long term land grants for property development.

5. The land resumption programme for the TKE project is dependent on the location of the depot. To identify the optimum location for the depot, we have to explore with the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) the relative merits of various possible scenarios of choice of site. In addition, we need to agree with the MTRC on the property development scenarios and expedite the land disposal process for depot and stations construction, having regard to the optimum interfacing layouts and arrangement with the existing MTR line and the public transport interchanges. This entails a complex planning and negotiation exercise with the MTRC, public bodies, and the Government departments concerned. We need to commence work as soon as possible to allow MTRC to commence construction by 1999 for completion in mid 2002.

6. The QBR will require resumption of about 10 hectares of private land. As mainly underground strata will be affected, we expect that resumption and clearance will not be contentious and will generate few claims for compensation. Notwithstanding this, we need to deploy adequate professional and technical resources to take forward short-term disposal of sites so that MTRC can commence construction by late 1997 for completion by December 2000.

7. At present, the D of Lands works through the headquarters Acquisition Section in the exercise of his statutory powers, supplemented by the District Lands Office in the case of resumption in the NT. We have critically examined the capacity of the department for land resumption in relation to the Public Works Programme and other projects. We conclude that the existing staff resources of the department had already been stretched to its limit and there is no scope for redeployment to cater for the railway projects. Whilst we have been exploring with KCRC and MTRC to identify an appropriate and effective arrangements for the two corporations to assist in some of the non-statutory and administrative activities, the main thrust of the land resumption works are statutory and can only be undertaken by the D of Lands. Given the substantial resumption requirements, even with the participation of the KCRC and MTRC, the D of Lands will not be able to cope with the additional workload without strengthening its existing staff resources.

8. We therefore propose to set up a dedicated RD Section in the Lands Administration Office of the Lands D to take on all land related matters arising from the three high priority railway projects. The proposed RD Section will comprise a land administration unit handling resumption, clearance, supervision of short- and long-term land disposal, a land survey unit providing the necessary survey and mapping support services, and two other units that will deal with claims for business loss and legal matters. We also propose to transfer the planning team responsible for planning of land requirements and preliminary preparatory works for the WCR from the existing Acquisition Section to the new RD Section. The existing and proposed organisation of the Lands D following the creation of the new section is at Enclosure 1.

9. Given the complexity and importance of the work of the RD Section, we consider that it should be headed by a professional estate surveyor of the appropriate seniority and authority to exercise the statutory powers on behalf of the D of Lands. He must possess the managerial and administrative abilities necessary to head a body of senior professionals in the new section, to plan and lead resumption activities, to monitor their progress and to initiate fall-back options to meet the tight time frame of the projects. He should be of sufficient stature to establish rapport with the senior directorate of other Government departments interested in the projects and to co-ordinate the efforts of the two railway corporations. We therefore propose to create one supernumerary post of GLA (D2) to head this new Section who will report to the Principal Government Land Agent/Specialist. The proposed job description of the GLA is at Enclosure 2.

10. In addition, we propose to create two supernumerary posts, one CES (D1) and one CLS (D1), to underpin the GLA by providing him with adequate professional support at the directorate level on the day-to-day administration and operations of the new RD Section.

11. The proposed CES will head a land administration unit with 63 staff. He will assist the GLA in taking forward and monitoring the progress of the resumption and clearance programme, advising on the settlement of compensation claims and co-ordinate the input of the railway corporations in the delivery of land for the projects with those of the new section. He will also represent the department at various forums to explain land-related policies and issues in connection with the railway projects and oversee the office administration of the RD Section. The job description of the CES is at Enclosure 3.

12. The proposed CLS will lead a new land survey unit of 24 staff. He will be responsible for assisting the GLA in determining the resumption limits and tackling land boundary problems and disputes. He will oversee and ensure the accurate delineation of lands affected by the projects before gazettal.He will tackle disputes on lot boundaries resulting from incomplete and obsolete survey records of the land affected by the railway projects. He will also provide guidance to railway corporations in the preparation of plans and land status information, particularly on the identification of interests affected by the resumption and clearance programmes. The job description of the CLS is at Enclosure 4.

13. Taking into account the estimated time for the settlement of all compensation claims that will arise from the resumption for the projects, we propose to create the three directorate posts for a period of five years up to 2002. We will review any further need for the three proposed posts in mid 2001 having regard to the workload and the future commitments of the RD Section.

14. The new RD Section will initially have a non-directorate establishment of 93 staff including the 11 non-directorate staff transferred from the original Planning Team in the existing Acquisition Section. They include various ranks of Estate Surveyor, Land Surveyor, Solicitor, Land Executive, Land Conveyancing, Technical and Survey Officer. We will create the additional non-directorate posts by phases under the normal Departmental Establishment Committee machinery. We will further review the manpower resources of the new RD Section in the light of actual workload as the projects progress.


15. The additional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point is -


No. of Posts

New Supernumerary posts

Government Land Agent



Chief Estate Surveyor



Chief Land Surveyor







The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $6,468,252.

16. In addition, this proposal will necessitate the creation of 82 additional non-directorate posts at a notional annual mid-point salary cost of $27,881,850 and a full annual average staff cost of $44,499,072. We have included sufficient provision in the 1997-98 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.


17. The 1994 RDS has identified for implementation three high priority railway projects, namely the WCR, the TKE and QBR and the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai Rail Link, along with the Kowloon Canton Railway Extension from Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui.

18. In December 1996, the Executive Council gave approval to proceed with the construction of Phase I of the WCR, i.e. the domestic passenger line from West Kowloon to Tuen Mun, via Tsuen Wan, Kam Tin, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai, with provisions for future phases providing for additional cross border passenger and freight services. We aim at completing and commissioning Phase I of the WCR by 2002/2003.

19. The Executive Council also agreed that MTRC should proceed with the detailed design of the TKE which would serve the Tseung Kwan O New Town, and the QBR project which would involve the construction of another interchange station at North Point to relieve congestion at the existing Quarry Bay Station.

20. We have completed the engineering feasibility study on the Ma On Shan Rail. We are now considering the recommendations of the study, including the appropriate financial and institutional arrangements for implementing the project, and the detailed implementation time table.


21. Civil Service Branch considers the ranking and grading of the proposed posts appropriate, having regard to the responsibilities and professional input required. The branch also supports creating the posts on a supernumerary basis in view of the specific life span of the projects.


22. As the posts are proposed on a supernumerary basis, we will report their creation, if approved, to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.

Transport Branch
May 1997

Enclosure 2 to EC(97-98)15

Proposed Job Description for Government Land Agent/Railway Development

Overall Role and Objective

Responsible to Principal Government Land Agent/Specialist for planning and supervising the resumption, clearance and handing over of land for the priority railway projects under the Railway Development Strategy, processing the grant by private treaty of associated development sites and overseeing the co-ordination of land planning for future railway development projects.

Major Responsibilities

  1. To formulate and review the policies and strategies for timely acquisition and clearance of land required for the railway projects and the disposal of associated development sites.

  2. To formulate departmental strategies and policies aiming at reducing the impact of the construction of the railway projects on adjacent landowners and occupiers.

  3. To scrutinise the land requirements, advise on the likely extent and nature of foreseeable problems and resolve any land-related issues arising from the railway development projects.

  4. To liaise with KCRC, MTRC and the relevant government departments to formulate detailed and practical programmes regarding the phased hand-over of land for the railway projects.

  5. To oversee the performance of KCRC and MTRC in connection with the work to be undertaken by them for acquisition of land for the railway projects.

  6. To oversee the payment of compensation for acquisition for the railway projects, and co-ordinate and supervise the settlement of all claims including those referred to the Lands Tribunal.

  7. To oversee the co-ordination of land planning for future railway projects.

Enclosure 3 to EC(97-98)15

Proposed Job Description for hief Estate Surveyor/Railway Development

Overall Role and Objective

Responsible to Government Land Agent/Railway Development for implementing and monitoring all land requirements for the Railway Development Strategy priority railway projects, and detailed planning for future railway development projects.

Major Responsibilities

  1. To monitor progress of the resumption and clearance programmes related to the railway projects.

  2. To directly supervise the handing over of land to KCRC and MTRC for construction of the railway projects, by means of licences.

  3. To be responsible for settlement of all claims arising from resumption and handle any Lands Tribunal cases arising therefrom.

  4. To liaise with and supervise the work done by KCRC and MTRC as the agents of Lands Department responsible for non-statutory land acquisition functions.

  5. To represent Lands Department at district boards, their sub-committees and other forums to assist in explaining land-related issues of the railway projects.

  6. To supervise detailed land planning for future railway projects, and to provide input to consultancies and advice on land matters to other Government departments.

  7. To be responsible for overall management of the Railway Development Section.

Enclosure 4 to EC(97-98)15

Proposed Job Description forChief Land Surveyor/Railway Development

Overall Role and Objective

Responsible to Government Land Agent/Railway Development for determining the resumption limits and tackling the land boundary problems and disputes in respect of the railway development projects.

Major Responsibilities

  1. To ensure accurate delineation of lot boundaries for land resumption and clearance exercises and other related land allocation required for the railway development projects.

  2. To co-ordinate efforts of KCRC, MTRC, government departments and utility companies in determining the areas of land affected by the railway projects, settling of boundary disputes, setting out the resumption limits, etc.

  3. To identify and advise on the nature of all the land titles, interests and easements so affected inside the resumption boundaries.

  4. To oversee the preparation of resumption plans, verification of land titles and land areas for gazettal of the railway schemes and assessment of compensation for resumption, through close liaison with KCRC and MTRC to provide sufficient guidance for their contractors to prepare accurate plans and use the survey and land status information for the railway projects.

  5. To supervise the land surveyors and supporting technical staff of the Railways Development Section to ensure adequate survey and mapping support for the implementation of various railway development projects.


Last Updated on 12 August 1999