Semarang’s market revitalization criticized
The revitalization of Pasar Bulu traditional market in Semarang, Central Java, aimed at providing the area with a modern look, has encountered criticism from the community over fears that it had violated a number of regulations on cultural heritage and environmental impact analysis (Amdal).
A member of the City Development Advisory Council (DP2K), Djoko Setijowarno, said that what happened to Pasar Bulu was the same as what happened to the Sari Petojo ice factory in Surakarta, also in Central Java province.
“Both were demolished because of the negligence of local administration heads, who did not have a vision [for the protection of] heritage,” Djoko said in Semarang, recently.
What separated the two cases was that while the Pasar Bulu building had been completely demolished, the ice factory building was only partly demolished before the Central Java Provincial Environment Agency (BLH) intervened.
The Pasar Bulu building, which was built between 1955 and 1958, was totally demolished on April 23 in order to make space for a more modern building, paid for with public funds. The project’s total budget is expected to reach Rp 42.9 billion (US$4.59 million), with the state budget covering Rp 25 billion in costs, along with a Rp 7 billion contribution from the provincial budget, and the city budget covering the remaining Rp 10.9 billion.
The revitalization project is scheduled for completion by the end of this year, and merchants are expected to be able to occupy their booths by January 2013. The market is located in the Tugu Muda area, which is also a heritage site, and is close to the Mandala Bakti Museum, Wisma Perdamaian, Lawang Sewu building and the Cathedral Church.
Although the market was built after Indonesian independence, the building’s architecture resembled that of Pasar Johar, which was designed by Dutch architect Thomas Karsten.
Law No 11/2010 on Cultural Heritage stipulates that buildings 50 years old and older cannot be demolished without careful consideration. “It requires a thorough study involving a cultural heritage expert,” said Djoko.
Otniel Moedu from the Central Java BLH said that problems with the revitalization project had existed since the very beginning.
The committee in charge of the project, in this case the Semarang City Market Agency, did not present the Amdal document required by Government Regulation (PP) 27/2012 on Environmental Licenses.
“Before the document is presented, no work is allowed. The market agency has to pay the consequences if environmental problems emerge,” Otniel said.
He blamed the condition on administrative constraints, saying that the Amdal document was prepared by a company named CV Geospasia Wahana Jaya, in which no company official was part of the preparation team.
This, he said, violated Environment Minister Decree 7/2010 on Amdal Preparation and Certification, in which the team must come from the appointed company. “The company instead recruited an outside team.”
He said that such a requirement should have been fulfilled during the bidding process. “It therefore raises questions as to how the company could win the bid,” Otniel said, adding that without an Amdal document, the project could face legal troubles.
Separately, City Market Agency head Abdul Madjid said the revitalization project had been carried out according to regulations.
He also dismissed suggestions that administrative constraints had caused prolonged delays in the preparation of the Amdal document and claimed to have consulted with the city and provincial BLH on both the market’s new design and on the preparation of the Amdal document.
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