State-owned railway company PT KAI is continuing with the removal of kiosks around stations in Jakarta, despite protests from vendors and human rights activists.
“We are trying to finish clearing the stations and railroads from vendors by the end of June as part of our program to make our service more comfortable for passengers,” KAI vice president Sugeng Priyono told The Jakarta Post on Sunday, adding that there were 50 train stations in the Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi (Greater Jakarta) area to be cleaned up.
He said that PT KAI had demolished 3,000 kiosks since December 2012 to enable the extension of station platforms and accommodate more vehicles in the parking lots.
“We expect an increase in train passengers in the future so we need bigger and more comfortable stations,” he said, adding that the company targeted to serve up to 1.2 million passengers in 2018.
On Thursday, PT KAI removed around 89 kiosks at Pasar Minggu train station in South Jakarta. The operation met resistance from vendors, which left many of them with injuries.
The kiosk owners in Pasar Minggu station filed a report to the Jakarta Police on Saturday for violent behavior during the demolition of their kiosks.
“Two vendors reported severe injuries to their heads, mouths and bone fractures in the eviction. Thursday’s eviction was against the law,” said Sidik of the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta), the vendors’ lawyer.
“LBH condemns the operation and asks the State Owned Enterprises Ministry to reprimand PT KAI. The demolition of the kiosks was done without involving the city administration and the state court,” he said.
The coordinator of the Pasar Minggu station street vendors, Samsuri, said the clash between traders and the company’s security personnel took place because they did not give time to the vendors to remove their merchandise.
“Yes, we got the notification letter but it did not say the exact date, so we were not prepared when they came,” he said, adding that the vendors did not object to moving as long as the government provided them alternative places for their businesses.
“If the government provides us with new places, I am willing to pay rent just like what I did with my previous kiosk, in which I paid Rp 11 million [US$1,132],” said Leni, a second hand book seller, at the location.
Without any place to go to sell, she said the vendors would be jobless.
National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Natalius Pigai said they had met with the city administration, the East Java provincial administration, KAI and also the association of train station street vendors to ask for a delay in the eviction.
“At that time, all parties agreed there would be no more tearing down stalls before the government found a new location for the vendors,” he said.
Responding to the Pasar Minggu incident, he said it contradicted the agreement.
“We will write to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about this human rights violation,” Natalius said. (hrl/tam)