Wednesday, April 13, 2016

JAKARTA BAY RECLAMATION PROJECT BELIEVED TO WORSEN ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION by Fardah

 Jakarta, April 13(Antara)- Jakarta Bay, a shallow water body located in the north of Jakarta, has been reeling under the impacts of environmental problems such as water pollution, sand and coral extraction, mangrove clearance, and sedimentation.
         The bay has been in the news again lately following the recent arrests of Jakarta's legislator Sanusi, President Director of PT Agung Podomor Land (APLN) Ariesman Widjaja, and the real estate company's employee Trinanda Prihantoro by the Corruption Eradication Corruption (KPK).
         Sanusi is suspected of having received Rp2.14 billion in two stages from PT APLN in connection with discussions over regulations related to the Jakarta Bay reclamation project.
        The KPK has also banned Sugianto Kusuma alias Aguan, the chairman of another major real estate developer Agung Sedayu Group, from leaving the country.
        PT Agung Sedayu, through its subsidiary PT Kapuk Naga Indah, is listed as one of the eight companies involved in the Jakarta Bay reclamation project, according to Kompas online media.

        Based on a permit from the Jakarta Development Planning Agency, PT Kapuk Naga Indah will reclaim five islands, which together would have an area of 1,329 hectares. 
   Meanwhile, PT APLN, through its subsidiary PT Muara Wisesa, will reclaim one island having an area of 161 hectares, the media stated.
        In addition to corruption and legal issues, the project to reclaim 17 islands along North Jakarta Coast will also threaten the environment of Jakarta Bay and its surrounding areas, according to environmental experts and NGO activists.
        "The environmental condition in the area is bad. The solution is not reclamation. In fact, reclamation will worsen it," Alan Koropitan, an oceanographer of the Bogor Institute of Agriculture,  stated recently.
         The reclamation of Jakarta Bay will trigger flooding, reduce the water quality, and hinder the water circulation process.
         "Fish will die due to the presence of heavy metals and organic substances. There will be a decrease in the speed of the flow of water, which will result in increased sedimentation in it (the bay)," he pointed out.
         Koropitan stated that no reclamation should be carried out in Jakarta Bay, but it should instead be restored in accordance with Law No. 27 of 2007 on Coastal and Small Island Management.
        "From the environmental aspect, the reclamation of 17 islands is not a viable decision. So, it must be stopped," Alan Koropitan remarked.
          He said he was not averse to the reclamation plan if it was in keeping with the interests of the public and was beneficial from the social, economic, and the environmental aspects.
          In the meantime, the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) stated that the arrest of a Jakarta lawmaker over alleged bribery in the Jakarta Bay reclamation project should serve as a momentum to totally halt the reclamation project.
         "Reclamation is not in the interest of the Jakarta public but would benefit a group of elites and capitalists at the expense of nature and will affect the traditional fishermen," Walhi Jakarta Executive Director Puput T.D. Putra noted in a statement recently.
         He regretted the fact that Jakarta's lawmakers gave their nod to the administration to carry out the reclamation project.
         Walhi believes that the reclamation project will prove to be detrimental to Jakarta's environment.
          According to the environmental NGO, the reclamation project would further worsen land subsidence in Jakarta.
          The Bandung Institute of Technology, in its study conducted in 2015, found that Jakarta, particularly the northern part, has been sinking by between two and four centimeters, he added.
          Furthermore, Jakarta historian JJ Rizal told TVOne that the current forced evictions of North Jakarta¿s Luar Batang residents, mostly traditional fishermen, by the Jakarta Administration, is not in the interest of the lower-income people, but of major developers seeking to expand the land in connection with the Jakarta Bay reclamation.
         The Indonesian Traditional Fishermen Association (KNTI) said reclamation of 17 islands in the Jakarta Bay has cut the income of local fishermen by about 40 to 50 percent.
         "Obviously, it has had a big impact on the economy of traditional fishermen as their income has come down by 40 to 50 percent," KNTI chief patron Chalid Muhammad said recently.
        Chalid said thousands of fishermen have been alienated and now find that they have restricted access to fishing since the Jakarta Bay has been privatized, due to the ongoing reclamation of man-made islands.
        Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok), however, has insisted on proceeding with the reclamation project. The 17 manmade islets will cost an estimated Rp 150 trillion ($11.4 billion) in investment.
        "Reclamation permits have no expired date and can be extended every year. If  the reclamation projects cannot be completed within one year, the permits can be extended," he said.
         Ahok also said he had no reservations at being nicknamed the "governor of Podomoro" or "governor of reclamation."
   The governor remarked that major property developer Agung Podomoro had been cooperative in providing CSR funds for Jakarta.
        "Besides this, there are people who are referring to me as 'the governor of reclamation.' Is reclamation bad? Governor Ali Sadikin did it too. Do you think Ancol is not from reclamation, so the Nusantara Bonded Zone (KBN)," Ahok pointed out.
         "Hence, do not merely make political statements on the reclamation," Ahok, who will run for another gubernatorial term in the simultaneous regional head election (Pilkada) next year, stated.
        In the meantime, the Indonesian Consumers Legal Aid Foundation (YLKI) has urged the public not to buy properties in controversial Jakarta Bay reclamation area.
         "The reclamation problems in Jakarta Bay are still complicated, particularly regarding licensing and environmental worthiness," Executive Chairman of YLKI Tulus Abadi said in a statement recently.
        There are ironies regarding the reclamation project because despite the problems, certain developers have actively advertised the real estates, and some consumers have been eager to buy them, according to him.
          He advised the public not to buy the properties because the legal position of the Jakarta Bay reclamation area is very weak and therefore a high risk of disputes arising.
         Developers should first have property permits comprising four legal documents, before advertising their real estates, he said.
         The documents are principle permit, reclamation permit, reclamation use permit, and building permit.
         All of those documents should be obtained from the Jakarta Administration.
          "Right now, several developers only have principle permits from the Jakarta Administration," he said.
          He urged the Jakarta authorities to ban any advertisement on real estates in the Jakarta Bay reclamation area before the four legal documents are completed. ***3***
(f001/INE/o001)
EDITED BY INE

13-04-2016 12:01:06

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