Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Forest fire agency demand autonomy

PEKANBARU, Riau: A senior government official proposed on Wednesday that the Riau Forest Fire Management Agency be declared an autonomous entity.

"We don't have our own budget, which makes us reliant upon government budgetary funds for our operational expenses. If the agency is set up as an autonomous body and has access to our own funds, we will be able to work faster and more efficiently," said Wan Abubakar, the chief of the agency.

Forest fires have been a problem in Riau province for many years, especially during the dry season, leading to haze problems. The agency has spearheaded efforts to put out the fires. -- JP