Six men have pledged to walk around 240 kilometers from their hometown in Darmaraja, Sumedang regency, West Java, to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta to file a complaint over the Jatigede Dam project in the regency.
On Wednesday, they stopped at Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) office in Bandung. The men are Aden Tarsiman, Danuri, Komarudin, Maulana, Suharyana and Yayan Taryana.
“We are desperate. The government plans to fill the Jatigede Dam in September, but it has yet to pay the compensation [for the evicted residents],” said Aden, adding they aimed to finish the trip in 10 days.
They carried documents comprising the signatures of 32 village heads, who had demanded the government immediately pay the compensation.
Aden hoped the President would listen to them and added that if he did not, they would go to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) instead.
The Jatigede Dam project, which was initiated in 1963, requires more than 4,800 hectares of land covering 32 villages in five districts.
It is expected that the dam will supply drinking water and produce electricity. West Java Development and Planning Agency head Deny Juanda said the government had found it difficult to relocate the residents, adding that many of them who had received compensation were still living in the area.