Indonesia: Reclamation may cause annual losses of Rp 178 trillion

Corry Elyda The Jakarta Post 30 Jun 16;

A lawyer has claimed during the hearing of a lawsuit challenging Jakarta gubernatorial permits for the construction of man-made islets F, I and K in Jakarta Bay, that the controversial reclamation and Giant Sea Wall projects have the potential to cause losses amounting to trillions of rupiah every year.

Martin Hadiwinata, a lawyer for the plaintiffs the Coalition to Save Jakarta Bay Movement, said after the hearing at the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) on Wednesday that his team had submitted written documents as proof that the projects brought many disadvantages for residents and the environment.

Martin said the total losses from the projects could amount to Rp 178.1 trillion (US$13.76 billion). The figure was calculated using three components only. “They comprise the loss of fishing grounds, the threat of flooding and the loss of mangroves,” he said.

A research document, entitled “Jakarta Bay Recommendation Paper”, by Denmark-based consultant company DHI Water and Environment at the request of the Environment and Forestry Ministry in 2012, showed that the estimated loss of 586.3 hectares of fishing grounds could cause a total loss of $1.36 billion in livelihoods annually.

Meanwhile, the increased risk of flooding is estimated to cause losses of $9.7 billion and the loss of mangrove habitat, including its role as coastal protection would cause losses of $2.7 billion.

Martin said the total loss excluded the potential reduction in electricity generated at Muara Karang and Muara Tawar power plants, which could reach $26.78 million. “Both power plants fulfill 53 percent of Jakarta’s electricity needs,” he said.

The developer-driven reclamation project, which comprises the construction of 17 artificial islets in Jakarta Bay, has been rejected by many residents and environmentalists, who argue that the projects only benefit private companies and will cause great danger to the environment.

The project came into the national spotlight after a City Council member was allegedly caught red-handed while receiving bribes from property development company Agung Podomoro Land (APL) whose subsidiary holds the permit for building Islet G.

The coalition previously won their lawsuit challenging the permit for Islet G.

The construction of all islets has been suspended by the central government. The government has formed a task force from various ministries, including the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) and the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Ministry to reevaluate the projects.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo recently said the project would continue as part of the Giant Sea Wall, or the National Coastal Integrated Capital Development (NCICD), mega project.

Nadia, lawyer for the city administration, said her side had also submitted two documents as evidence.

“We gave the recommendation letters of the BPLHD [Environmental Management Agency] on environmental permits and AMDAL [environmental impact analyses],” she said, declining to elaborate further.

Oswar Muadzin, the assistant to the governor on spatial planning and the environment, made it clear that the city administration had no intention of halting the project.

“We’ll simply repeat the permit issuance process should the court annul the permits,” he said when asked whether the city would stop the project once and for all if the court so ordered.

Oswar argued that the project was for the public good. “Those who are going to live in the islets are members of the public. They are also our citizens,” he said.

Developers bite the bullet in Jakarta reclamation
Agnes Anya The Jakarta Post 1 Jul 16;

Developers of the Jakarta Bay reclamation project are repeatedly biting the bullet as an investigative team has imposed strict penalties on the tangled project, including permanently ceasing development of an islet.

“The joint team concluded that islet G has committed gross violations as it is being built above electricity wires in the sea and among ship lanes. We decided that the development of the islet has to be stopped,” said Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli on Thursday, referring to an islet developed and marketed by PT Muara Wisesa Samudera, a subsidiary of PT Agung Podomoro Land.

Rizal announced the decisions after a meeting with the joint team, which consists of experts from the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, Environment and Forestry Ministry and Transportation Ministry, as well as the Jakarta administration.

In the meeting, he added, the team reported irregularities in the Jakarta Bay reclamation project, which has been halted amid a dispute regarding overlapping regulations.

The official classified the irregularities as gross, moderate and minor violations.

Classified as a gross violation, the development of islet G has been deemed a danger to the environment, strategic vital projects and ship traffic, as it is being built above submarine electricity wires and between ship lanes.

Aside from islet G, which had been offered to the market while having commenced construction, the joint team has also penalized islets C, D and N.

Islet C and D belong to PT Kapuk Naga Indah, a subsidiary company of Agung Sedayu, while Islet N is owned by state-owned port operator Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo).

Development of the three islets were considered a moderate violation because they had undergone construction without following their initial design plans, as agreed to in Gubernatorial Regulation No. 121/2012 on the spatial management of reclamation the northern Jakarta coast, Rizal said.

Developers of islets C and D, which have been integrated as one big islet, are required to construct a canal to separate the two islets, as stipulated in the regulation with consideration that the canal functions as flood control, ship lane and sea current path.

“Islets C and D can still be developed but they have to reconstruct the islets as they were built without following the initial reclamation plan,” Rizal said, adding that to carry out the work, the developer might require hundreds of billions
of rupiah.

He, however, did not elaborate on the violations in the development of islet N, which is set to be a new port.

Asked whether the decisions will be stipulated in a particular legal form, Rizal said the government would consider its options once it finished the investigation, which is expected to be completed in the next three months.

The team still has tasks to complete, including evaluating the development plans of 13 other islets that have yet to be built, Rizal added.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta administration will not enforce the decisions on the existing projects, unless the decisions are stipulated in a regulation issued by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who holds the authority to impose the penalties, said Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.

“I see the decisions as recommendations,” Ahok said, adding that Muara Wisesa may sue the government, as well as the administration, as it held permits to build islet G.

The reclamation project hit headlines after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested APL president director Ariesman Widjaja and Jakarta councillor Muhammad Sanusi in a bribery case related to the project in the Jakarta Bay in April.

Ariesman is allegedly to have bribed Sanusi, a politician from the Gerindra Party, with Rp 1 billion (US$76,000) to influence the drafting of bylaws related to the reclamation project.

The city administration plans to require developers to pay a 15 percent additional fee in the bylaws while developers have reportedly attempted to approach councillors to lower the fee.

Besides the arrest, the KPK has also banned Ahok’s expert staff Sunny Tanuwidjaja and Agung Sedayu chairman Sugianto “Aguan” Kusuma from traveling overseas in relation to the bribery case.

Meanwhile, the head of the spatial planning and environment bureau of the Jakarta administration, Vera Revina Sari, admitted on Thursday that the additional fee was decided without a legal basis.

Speaking in Ariesman’s hearing at the Jakarta Corruption Court, Vera said the additional fees, which had been received by the administration, had been approved by the governor.

“Most of [the fees] were used to build low-cost apartments,” Vera said responding to a question from KPK prosecutor Ali Fikri.

Vera said among the reclamation developers that had paid the fee was Muara Wisesa, a subsidiary of APL, and that the fee had been used to build a low-cost apartment in Daan Mogot, West Jakarta.

Government cancels G Island reclamation project
Antara 30 Jun 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government officially cancels the G island reclamation project in the Jakarta bay saying development of the project was a serious offense.

The reclamation project would endanger the environment , sea traffic and vital projects, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources Rizal Ramli said here on Thursday.

"The Joint Committee of Ministers agree that the G island reclamation project is a serious offense," Rizal said at a meeting on the controversial project of reclamation of the northern beach of Jakarta.

Rizal said the project is categorized as a serious offense as the state electricity company PT PLN has electrical cables to be buried under the island project.

"The island would also hamper fishing vessels. Before the island was made fishing boats could easily pass and land in Muara Angke. Now with the island fishing vessels have to make a detour costing them more fuel," he said.

He said based on analysis of the Joint Committee the island of G has been arbitrarily built as it would damage the environment and destroy the marine biota.

"Therefore, we decide to permanently cancel the G island reclamation project," he said.

It was also decided that the C, D and N island projects were moderate offense that the developers are required only to make some repair and dismantling .

The C and D islands , which already almost become one are required to be set separate to form a canal of at least 100 meter wide with a depth of at least 8 meters to allow vessels to pass by .

The N island , which is part of the Kalibaru port project of state-owned port operator Pelindo II was considered to be technical offense against the environment.

"The developer agreed to mend the damage that the project is allowed to continue," Rizal said.

Marine and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said all members of the joint committee have worked on their respective skills that the decisions are considered the best they could make.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has found irregularities in the implementation of the Jakarta bay reclamation projects.

A number of government officials including members of the Jakarta city council have been named suspects and arrested on charge of graft.


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