Mon, 08 Dec 2003

Sport center construction leads to more evictions

Evi Mariani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The construction of a sports center and the widening of a road to facilitate the movement of trucks near industrial plants will lead to the demolition of more houses and subsequent evictions in the remaining weeks prior to the new year.

The two areas are among four areas where evictions are slated to take place this month.

The Boker red-light district in Ciracas, East Jakarta, will be bulldozed by the municipality administration for the construction of a sports center. The sports center will be equipped with a swimming pool, an indoor tennis stadium, a soccer field, a basketball court and a volleyball court.

East Jakarta Mayor Koesnan Abdul Halim had told a press conference earlier that his municipality has allocated Rp 35 billion (US$4.12 million) as compensation for the evicted residents.

He said the compensation money would be distributed by Dec. 15 so that the municipality could clear the 4.6-hectare plot of land.

It is the second red-light district to be closed by the administration this year after the West Jakarta municipality administration evicted people from the Kalijodo red-light district in Penjaringan, West Jakarta, in March.

Separately, the North Jakarta municipality administration has sent an eviction notice to at least 64 families in Muara Baru, Penjaringan, who live along Jl. Muara Baru. The notice said that the land, on which their houses stood, would be used to widen the road to ease the flow of trucks entering and leaving nearby industrial plants.

However, there is no fixed date for the evictions.

As of Sunday, residents in Muara Baru had not yet dismantled their houses as they were waiting for further information.

"We have no plan to resist the eviction. We will leave the land as soon as we get the compensation money," said Siti, a mother of four who has been living in Muara Baru for three years.

She said that she has no idea how much money she would get from the municipality.

In Kayuputih, East Jakarta, about 300 houses have been dismantled by the owners before a Wednesday deadline. The administration argued that if the land was cleared it would minimize the impact of flooding in the coming rainy season.

Fishermen's families living on the banks of Muara Angke river in North Jakarta have been staying in makeshift tents and on board their boats although two excavators have been working to widen and dredge the 2.4-kilometer river. The heavy equipment has not damaged their shelters or boats.

Officers from the Jakarta Public Works Agency are scheduled to finish the dredging project on Dec. 15.

The officers said that they were not ordered to evict the families from their temporary shelter but the existing makeshift tents made their work more difficult.

They only said that they would leave the eviction matter to North Jakarta mayor.

The fishermen's families were evicted on Oct. 22 from their houses built on stilts on the other side of the river and have since lived on board the boats and in makeshift shelters.

They were promised low-cost apartments for rent on a 4.5- hectare plot of land by the North Jakarta municipality administration and low-cost housing on Song Beach, Indramayu regency, West Java, by the regency administration.