Fri, 23 Feb 2001

Land dispute dogs terminal project

TANGERANG (JP): Unsettled controversy over compensation money for land and buildings is feared to hamper the ongoing construction project of an integrated terminal in Cipondoh district to replace the existing one in Cikokol.

Dozens of residents in Poris Plawad village who are affected by the project have insisted that they will not move until the Tangerang mayoralty administration complies with their demanded compensation of Rp 300,000 (US$31.6) per square meter of their properties.

"We do not intend to disrupt the government project, but the compensation offered by the project committee to us is so low that we are afraid we cannot afford to buy replacement houses," a respected resident, Saad, 50, said on Wednesday.

He said the land transfer committee had offered a mere Rp 150,000 per square meter of land and buildings belonging to some 400 families affected by the project.

Assistant to mayor Herry Mulya Zein, who is former Cipondoh district chief, said on Thursday the mayoralty administration and the village residents had settled the dispute and agreed to set the compensation money at Rp 200,000 per square meter.

"We asked for their understanding that they release their properties at a lower price in the public interest," Herry said.

The new terminal will stand on a five-hectare plot. The project costs Rp 23 billion and is funded by a government loan from the Asian Development Bank. Begun in October last year, the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2002.

Spokesman for the mayoralty administration Herri Kusnadi said the existing terminal in Cikokol could no longer accommodate all incoming buses and other public transportation as part of its plot had been cut off for a fly-over project nearby.

In response to the dispute, deputy speaker of the mayoralty council Burhanuddin suggested that the local government pay the compensation based on the government estimated land and building prices, which range between Rp 200,000 and Rp 250,000.

"We promise to help the residents fight for their rights. The committee should have not set the price for their own benefit," Burhanuddin said. (41)