Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Sunday asked public and government officials to fight land speculators who have impeded the development of infrastructure facilities in the country.
"The fight is against the land speculators who are disrupting the development of infrastructure facilities," he said when inaugurating a number of infrastructure projects in East Java.
The president said land speculators harmed both the public and the state which must pay land at higher prices than the normal ones.
He said the government had adopted a clear mechanism of paying compensation to the people whose land was affected by the government`s infrastructure projects to avoid irregularities.
"Don`t let the people live in poverty while at the same time land speculators reap billions of rupiahs in profits. The general public deserve proper compensation. I don`t want the development of infrastructure facilities to stagnate just because land cannot be cleared due to speculators` act," he said.
The infrastructure projects inaugurated by the president included a 12.8 km turnpike linking Waru to Juanda Airport in Surabaya at a cost of Rp1.288 trillion, a rented low-cost apartment at Tambak Sawah village in Sidoarjo district at a cost of Rp23.63 billion and a rented low-cost apartment in Kebomas subdistrict, Gresik district, at a cost of Rp15.29 billion.
On the occasion, the president also presented Rp808.81 billion in aid to East Java Governor Imam Utomo to finance the national program for people`s empowerment (PNPM) in the province and handed 6,000 packages of basic necessaries for the poor.
He expressed hope the program would help the government lower the number of poor people which has reached 36 million.
The program includes the provision of rice, healthcare, scholarships, cash assistance and subsidy to the poor.
Under the program, the government has set itself a target of channeling Rp3 billion to each subdistrict by 2009 to finance the program at a subdistrict level.
"I hope the fund will not be misused. It must reach subdistricts and villages for the benefit of the people," he said.
The president`s entourage included Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, Minister/State Secretary Hatta Rajasa, Manpower and Transmigration Minister Erman Suparno, State Minister for the Environment Rahmat Witoelar and State Minister for Public Housing M Yusuf Asyari. (*)