Wed, 18 Oct 2000

Polluting company berates residents

West Java Governor H. Nuriana has rebuked PT Insang Sandang because the waste it generates has polluted Rancaekek, Bandung and its surrounding areas.

Unfortunately, when Rancaekek residents came to the office of PT Insang Sandang to convey to H. Benyamin, the company's general affairs manager and also assistant director, a letter signed by Jaja Dipraja, chairman of the community of farmers and fish breeders in Linggar Rancaekek, Bandung, and Open Afandi, the secretary, they were roughly berated and then driven out of his office.

Then Benyamin, through Pak Muin, head of the intelligence unit of Sumedang Police, threatened to arrest Jaja Dipraja and Open Apandi.

As a matter of fact, the security guard on duty permitted the residents to see Benyamin at his office. Later, while driving the Linggar Rancaekek residents out of his office, Benyamin said that he had scolded the security guard in the presence of Ayi Mahfudin of the company's field division.

He also said that he had reported Jaja Dipraja and Open Afandi to the police and that these two men would be arrested and detained in prison. He added that Muin was now hunting down these two persons.

Benyamin also told Linggar Rancaekek residents that the letters sent to the governor and the President were not written by Linggar Rancaekek residents and were therefore considered illegal. Are all this true?

We are writing this letter, therefore, to call on the police and the authorities not to arrest residents of Linggar Rancaekek, Bandung because their arrest will have an adverse impact on the police force itself and on PT Insang Sandang.

It must be remembered that this is the time for reform and that intimidating residents must be a thing of the past. It is no longer the time when people are considered ignorant. Neither is it the time to arrest residents simply because of their critical attitude.

If the police insist on arresting these two men, they will have to deal with the local residents, so said a resident who prefers to remain anonymous.

In fact, the local residents have only one wish, namely that all factories located around Rancaekek must not dispose of their liquid waste at any place as this will disadvantage the farmers and fish breeders in Linggar.

If PT Insang Sandang does not think that they have disposed of their liquid waste at any place, Benyamin, the general affairs manager and assistant director, must remain coolheaded when dealing with Linggar residents. This way the residents will feel at ease.