Tue, 24 Jun 2003


'Most gas stations do not meet Amdal requirements'

Damar Harsanto The Jakarta Post Jakarta

Most of the more than 240 gas stations in Jakarta do not meet the requirements set in the environment impact analysis (Amdal), the City Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) announced on Monday.

"Only 15 new gas stations out of the total 241 operating in the city meet the requirements of Amdal, while the remainder does not," said Ridwan Panjaitan, who heads the BPLHD's environment impact analysis division.

He said that due to their failure to meet the requirements, gas stations negatively impacted on their surroundings, including by causing traffic jams.

Another senior official at the division, Dulles Manurung, cited an example that traffic congestion was a common occurrence on Jl. Tomang in West Jakarta and a gas station.

"Long lines of vehicles for the gas station result in traffic jams," he said, noting that a gas station should provide more space for motorists to queue up so as not to obstruct traffic.

Citing another example, Dulles said residents living near a gas station in Taman Mataram, South Jakarta, have complained about a fuel leak, which they say has contaminated their groundwater.

"We summoned the managements of both gas stations (in Tomang and Taman Mataram) for clarification today (Tuesday)," he said.

Dulles, who made impromptu visits to 22 gas stations in Jakarta last year, asserted that none of them met the technical standards required under Gubernatorial Decree No. 189/2002.

According to the decree, a gas station must have several wells to monitor any leaks in its fuel tanks. One of the wells must be of a depth of at least between one and two meters below groundwater level. The wells must be checked and monitored every day for whether they have been contaminated by fuel or not.

"But what we found is that many gas stations do not have proper wells to monitor possible fuel leaks. Some who do leave their wells locked," said Dulles.

He said that most of the gas stations in the capital were operating on the basis of permits issued by the central government through state oil and gas company Pertamina and the Ministry of Mines and Energy's Directorate General of Oil and Natural Gas.

After the regional autonomy law was implemented in 2001, the authority was handed over to the city administration, although Pertamina and the oil and gas directorate general still provided technical assistance to the gas stations, Dulles said.

"But despite the fact that those stations operate under their current permits, an Amdal analysis is still required," said Dulles.

Analysts have said that they believe the issuance of operating permits for gas stations in Jakarta was tainted by collusion and nepotism, given the fact that many gas stations were built on greenbelts.

Dulles said at least 32 gas stations occupy some five hectares of Jakarta's median strips and greenbelts, which should function as the city's lungs and water catchment areas.

Previously, at least 36 gas stations were found to occupy greenbelts, and the administration later restored four of the locations to their original function.

Some of the gas stations, including the one located on Jl. Sudirman in the Semanggi area, Central Jakarta, are owned by President Megawati Soekarnoputri's husband Taufik Kiemas.

Others reportedly belong to the Humpuss Group, founded by former president Soeharto's youngest son Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, who is currently serving a 15-year prison term in Nusakambangan Penitentiary, Cilacap, Central Java.