Mon, 20 Nov 2000

APHI official says forest damage worse

SAMARINDA, East Kalimantan: Commissioner for Legal Affairs and Organization of the East Kalimantan branch of the Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires (APHI) Achmad Husry disclosed that forest damage in the province is getting worse.

Without going into specifics, Achmad claimed that based on an APHI investigation, the damage could worsen following the arrival of 1,000 units of new heavy logging equipment, such as tractors, logging trucks and dump trucks.

"The equipment were brought in by certain parties who did it in the name of local community, while in fact they are actually thieves," he charged here on Sunday.

He added that the official data from the Custom and Excise office recorded only 290 pieces of equipment.

"The equipment, they said, was for plantation use, but it will actually be used for illegal logging, including the area our company PT. Haciendawood operates," he charged while adding that at least 180 cubic meters of timber have been stolen from the company's estate.

As quoted by Antara, Achmad said that he has reported the theft to the local police and Ministry of Forestry office, but there has been no response.

The head of the Ministry of Forestry's local office, Uuh Aliyuddin, claimed that authorities were having difficulty in arresting timber thieves despite having established a special team chaired by Governor Suwarna Abdul Fatah.

"We have limited personnel and budget," Uuh defended.(hdn)