Wed, 03 Sep 2003

Minister says colleagues indifferent

JAKARTA: State Minister of the Environment Nabiel Makarim complained on Tuesday about his colleagues' indifference in the controversial road construction project that will cut a large swath through a protected forest in Aceh.

Nabiel told a hearing with the House of Representatives' commission VIII on environment that he had been seeking a solution to the matter by consulting Minister of Regional Settlements and Infrastructure Soenarno and Minister of Forestry M. Prakosa as well as nongovernmental activists and the House legislators.

"But so far there has been no response from the forestry and regional settlements and infrastructure ministers," Nabiel said.

Nabiel said he would consult Prakosa about the appropriation of the forest and Soenarno about the priority road projects in war-torn Aceh.

The road project connecting eastern and western coasts of Aceh, called Ladia Galaska, will cut through the protected forest in Leuser, which has long served to maintain a rare and fragile ecosystem.-- Antara