Fri, 02 May 2003

City to take Nabiel to court over reclamation decree

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The City Administration will take State Minister for Environment Affairs Nabiel Makarim to the Administrative Court over his Decree No. 14/2003 issued on Feb. 19, which rejected a plan to reclaim 2,700 hectares of the northern coast.

Chairman of the City Environment Management Board (BPLHD) Kosasih Wirahadikusumah said on Thursday that the lawsuit was being prepared by the legal bureau of the city administration. They will ask the court to annul the decree.

"The lawsuit should be submitted to the administrative court before May 19 because after that date we cannot submit our complaint to the court," Kosasih told the press after a hearing with the City Council.

He said that the right to take the case to the court would be valid for three months.

Kosasih further said the city administration legal bureau had appointed lawyers from Amir Syariffudin and Associates to represent the city administration to handle the issue.

Kosasih said that the legal action against Nabiel would be supported by a number of institutions related to the project owned by city administration like the Water Front City Management (PB Pantura).

He also said that the city administration would also ask private developers who may suffer losses due to the minister's decree to join the suit.

Earlier many city officials said that Nabiel's decree had no legal basis. They argued that based on Law No. 22/1999 on regional autonomy, such a project did not need central government approval.

Governor Sutiyoso asserted that the reclamation project would go ahead. He made the statement soon after Nabiel issued the decree, which was based on the recommendation of the Central Environmental Impact Analysis (Amdal) Commission tasked to assess the Amdal document submitted by PB Pantura.

Kosasih further said his office would set up an Amdal commission tasked to assess the Amdal document on the project. The city Amdal commission is to make the report to the City Environmental Impact Management Agency (Bapedalda). He said the Amdal document only needed to be approved by Bapedalda.

Sutiyoso had worked hard to make the reclamation project a reality, which according to environmentalists could endanger the environment in the northern part of the city.

The city administration organized a panel discussion on April 25 to provide justification for the project that will encompass 32 kilometers of the northern coastal areas from Bekasi's border in the east to Tangerang's border in the west.

City Council's Commission D for development affairs on Thursday also supported the reclamation plan.

According to the Nabiel's decree, the reclamation would cause a number of environmental and social problems.

First, the reclamation project would cause an increase in the sea level of up to 12 centimeters.

Second, thousands of fishermen in Kamal Muara, Muara Angke, Muara Baru, Kampung Luar Batang would loss their jobs.

Third, it would damage the sea ecosystem as some 330 million cubic meters of sand would be needed to reclaim the sea.

And fourth, it would worsen pollution around Kepulauan Seribu regency due to the reclamation process and during the utilization of the reclaimed land.

The land reclamation project is for the construction of luxury houses, hotels, condominiums, an industrial zone, port area, business centers, massive shopping malls, offices and recreation places.

The project is expected to be completed within 30 years.