Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Kramat Tunggak buildings slated to be demolished

JAKARTA (JP): A North Jakarta Mayoralty official said on Monday that the administration would demolish any buildings on the former Kramat Tunggak red light district in North Jakarta, soon after it settles the compensation for the appropriation of the buildings with some 270 brothel owners.

"After settling the first payment of compensation, which is slated for late this month, the administration will demolish all buildings in the area," North Jakarta mayoralty spokesman Achyar Chaniago told The Jakarta Post by phone.

Achyar said the city administration had pledged to provide some Rp 70 billion (US$7.6 million) as compensation for the appropriation of the 10.4-hectare plot of land located in the Tugu Utara subdistrict of North Jakarta.

"The governor has decided to provide nearly half of the total compensation, that is Rp 30 billion, for the brothel owners. The funds will be disbursed to them at the end of this month, while the rest of the money (Rp 40 billion) will be paid someday later," he said.

"The city administration currently only has perhaps Rp 30 billion to settle the payment and after January it will raise other funds from its annual budget," he speculated.

However, he dismissed the allegations that the administration had been "hastily" executing the decision without waiting until all payments are settled.

"It's the governor's decision. But it's understandable as the administration is encouraging investors to invest in the area. Investors will not invest in the area if the compensation has yet to be settled," he said.

City administration officials and the brothel owners held a meeting last Friday to discuss the proper amount of compensation.

The meeting concluded that the administration would pay the brothel owners some 90 percent of the total price of both the land and the buildings, based on the taxable property value (NJOP) which totals some Rp 70 billion.

Achyar said the brothel owners could withdraw the money from a joint team formed by the administration, comprising of officials from the North Jakarta mayoralty, as well as the local district and subdistrict administrations.

"But the brothel owners must provide sufficient documents certifying their ownership of the land," he said.

He dismissed reports that the owners would be neglected and homeless after the appropriation, while they were waiting for the second term of the payment.

"Now they have started to move out of the area and have returned to their respective hometowns. Besides, we can send them letters," he said.

Meanwhile, brothel owners vowed on Monday that they understood the administration's policy to vacate the area.

"We'll obey the government's decision. We understand that we can no longer stay here as the people have also expressed their dissatisfaction over our presence," said Ronny, 64, owner of the "Maradona" brothel.

Ronny, who claims to have operated the brothel since 1972, said he would use the money, which could reach some Rp 300 million, to open a new business.

"However, I haven't decided what kind of business yet," Ronny, who now lives with his family somewhere in North Jakarta, told the Post at his 200-square-meter brothel.

He was busy setting some new large loud speakers, assisted by one of his aides, while some prostitutes looked on.

He, however, denied that the new speakers would be used for his new "mucus" business somewhere.

Udin, operator of "Black Rose 47", said he was preparing to return to his hometown after the payment.

"We may join other family in Blora, Central Java, and start business there," he said.

Despite its official closure last December, the area remained alive on Monday. There were scores of brothels in operation with dozens of prostitutes chatting with men. (asa)