Posted by: Hendra Siry | 14 June, 2010

City `Should Preserve Local Needs, Environment’

The Coalition to Save Jakarta Bay Movement urged the city administration to stop land reclamation in Jakarta’s North Coast and conduct a strategic environmental review as required by the 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law. The group expressed concern that the plan, which included construction of business and housing areas, would not address environmental aspects and local interests.

Selamet Daroyni from the Indonesian Green Institute said Sunday that the reclamation of 2,700 hectares of Jakarta’s coastal area required 330 million cubic meters of filler material, which would destroy the surrounding environment. “It is not realistic if the administration says the plan is related to the agenda of spatial order in Greater Jakarta,” he said.

Selamet added that the often-cited example of successful reclamation in Singapore neglected the fact that Nipah Island in Riau Islands province, almost sank because of the sand extracted for the project. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Environment Ministry by allowing it to uphold its 2003 decree against the city’s reclamation and revitalization plan of the North Coast.

The ruling, announced on the Court’s website, annulled a 2003 verdict by the Jakarta Administrative Court that declared the decree rejecting the plan to reclaim 2,700 hectares of the area unlawful and ordered the ministry to revoke it. Secretary-general of the People’s Coalition on Fisheries Justice (Kiara), Riza Damanik, said reclamation would not benefit the city.

“Since 2000, the city has spent more than Rp 7 billion [US$761 million] to overcome the impact of floods caused by reclamation every year,” he said, adding that recently it also used a Rp 1 billion World Bank loan to repair its water channels. Damanik said the Supreme Court ruling against the plan was a good starting point for the city administration to reevaluate its spatial plan by conducting a strategic environmental review.

“In this context, the administration should also execute the ruling by ceasing reclamation works and rehabilitating both the environment and the livelihoods of fishermen,” he said. Damanik added that there were strong indications of judicial corruption, including in issuing permits, in the Jakarta Bay development project. He said the administration protected the developers who went ahead with reclamation activity plans despite the Supreme Court ruling.

Nurkholis Hidayat from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation said the issuance of permits only benefitted certain parties and neglected the condition of fishermen and residents of North Jakarta who were hit by tidal floods every year. “The administration should shell out to prepare for the negative impacts of the project, such as by repairing infrastructure and building dikes,” he said. He added that all parties should investigate the possibility of corruption in the project. (lnd)

Source: The Jakarta Psot – June 14, 2010


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