Tue, 22 Aug 2000

Sutiyoso attacks UPC on 'becak'

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Sutiyoso attacked a nongovernmental organization on Monday for supporting becak (pedicab) drivers and establishing operational zones for them, saying they had no right to do so.

The Urban Poor Consortium (UPC) organized pedicab drivers into groups following a Central Jakarta District Court verdict on July 31 ordering the city administration to allow the drivers restricted operation in residential areas and markets.

"UPC should educate pedicab drivers about laws and regulations, instead of organizing them and demanding their right to operate in the city. Despite the court ruling, pedicabs are still banned here according to City Bylaw No.11/1988 on Public Order," Sutiyoso told The Jakarta Post at City Hall.

"Even President Abdurrahman Wahid has suggested that the drivers find better jobs, while City Council has rejected the proposal to amend the bylaw," he said

Most of the drivers are not even Jakarta residents, he added.

The governor also said he would continue with his program to free the city from pedicabs.

"We will carry on with our public order operation, which includes raiding pedicab drivers. City councillors are applying constant pressure on me to solve the problem once and for all," he said.

"It would be better if the UPC provided training for the drivers to change their professions," added Sutiyoso.

The city's Social Disturbances Control Center said UPC had established 44 large and 157 small pedicab zones in the city.

"We have detected 11 large and 18 small zones in Central Jakarta, three large and 19 small zones in East Jakarta, 12 large and 73 small zones in North Jakarta, and 18 large and 47 small zones in West Jakarta," the center's information division head, Raya Siahaan, told reporters.

"UPC has also appointed personnel to coordinate drivers in each zone," he said.

No zones have been detected in South Jakarta, he said.

City officials estimate that there are more than 6,000 pedicabs in the city. (nvn)