Mon, 07 Jul 2003

400 not compensated for lost land

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

Four hundred people from 80 families in the hamlet of Kebon Jali, Tangerang, Banten province, have complained that they have not been compensated for the land they lost to the expansion of Soekarno-Hatta airport.

The residents of Selapajang village were left homeless by the project that started late last year. They were to receive compensation eight months ago, but say they have yet to receive any money.

And the state-owned company that operates the airport, PT Angkasa Pura (PAP) II, and the Tangerang municipal administration do not appear to be taking steps to rectify the situation.

"Frankly speaking, I am awfully concerned about the fate of those families. I personally condemn PAP and the city administration over this case," Suwadi, a local community leader, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

He said there were originally about 310 families whose house were bulldozed to make way for the international airport's expansion, but only about 210 families received compensation.

The families have appealed directly to the airport operator for their compensation, but received no concrete response. The company only sent a representative to make a lot of empty promises, Suwadi said.

"A representative of PT Ankasa Pura told the families to demand compensation directly from the finance minister," he said.

He said many of the villagers who lost their property could not buy new houses or land until they received compensation.

"The city administration -- in this case the Team of Nine responsible for the clearance of the land -- should visit the homeless families and resolve this problem. But until now they have yet to show up," Suwadi said.

He called on the so-called Team of Nine, led by Tangerang Mayor HM Thamrin and his aide, Affandi Permana, who served as operations head, to mediate the dispute with the airport operator.

Land clearance for the expansion project began in December 2002 with the company offering Rp 150,000 (US$18.40) in compensation per square meter of land.

Permana could not be reached for comment on Friday. According to one of his staff members, the mayor's assistant was in Jakarta.

Nor was the head of Angkasa Pura II available for comment. His spokesman, Trisno, said the company was not authorized to comment on the issue, saying the problem was being handled by its central office in Jakarta.

The public relations head of the central Angkasa Pura office also could not be reached for comment.