Thu, 12 Feb 2004

Farmers refute governor's statement, have yet to receive compensation

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Fish farmers in Cilincing, North Jakarta, refuted Governor Sutiyoso's statement that the city administration had compensated them for the destruction of their ponds due to environmental pollution caused by a nearby dump.

"We have not received any compensation. The administration hasn't even discussed it with us," farmer Edi Djubaedi told the press at his fish pond on Wednesday.

Edi and other farmers showed reporters the now empty ponds that were damaged due to the seepage of liquid waste that killed their fish and shrimps after the opening of the Rawa Malang dump in Cilincing in early January.

Sutiyoso claimed on Tuesday that his administration had paid compensation to all farmers. The governor and the Jakarta Sanitation Agency head Selamat Limbong had earlier denied that the dump had polluted the fish ponds.

They finally acknowledged the damage after the Office of the State Minister of the Environment announced the results of an examination confirming the damage.

Edi said the farmers preferred to seek a mutually beneficial solution with the administration, but were ready to take legal action if it refused to give compensation.

"The most important thing is that we receive compensation."

The Jakarta Residents Forum (Fakta) said that 28 fish farmers, whose ponds were polluted from the dump, suffered a total of Rp 774 million (US$92,033) in material losses.

Achmad Heryawan of City Council Commission E for people's welfare and Agus Darmawan and Dani Anwar of Commission B for economic affairs visited the farmers to inspect their ponds.

Heryawan urged the administration to immediately compensate the farmers' for their losses.

"The people should not be the victims of the government's policy."

He said the environmental devastation that followed the opening of the dump was evidence of the administration's failure to resolve garbage problems in the city.

The administration and the council had previously agreed that starting this year, the city's daily garbage would be managed using high-tech environmentally friendly processes. Currently, Jakarta is dumping its garbage at Bantar Gebang dump in Bekasi using a sanitary landfill system and preparing another dump in Bojong, Bogor that will use bale press technology.