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East Kalimantan's Parliaments disapprove mining in protected forest

Published by MAC on 2004-04-28

East Kalimantan's Parliaments disapprove mining in protected forest


April 28, 2004

The local parliaments (DPRD) of East Kalimantan province requested that the central government revoke all permits of coal mining in protected forests. The permits would eventually encourage people to conduct illegal activities such as logging that can damage the preserved areas. "If the government wants to preserve the forests, all the mining permits in protected forests have to be revoked," said a member of commission C of the DPRD of East Kalimantan, Ridwan Suwidi, who is also the member of the special committee on environment, as quoted from Bisnis Indonesia daily.

He added, if the mining permits were not revoked, it would be better for the government to annul the status of all protected forests in the country and let people fell trees in the forests. It was a harsh protest to the central government, which was considered lenient in providing mining permits in protected forests.

According to Suwidi, the government's policy to allow mining in protected forests would cause damages in the forests. The government should be blamed for any damages in the forests due to lenient policy on how to treat the forests. The central government has so far pressured the local governments (Pemda) and harshly rejected any of the aspirations from the Pemda's. "We cannot accept unfairness in making policies between the central and local governments. The central government always pushes the local governments to obey its policies while it never accommodates the local aspirations," said Suwidi.

He added, so far the permits of mining in forests have been given only to big companies. Small companies in regions will never be allowed to mine in protected forests because the central government will never approve their request for the mining permits. In this regard, the central government has to be consequent in protecting the forests.

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