Fishermen stage protest against eviction to Thousand Islands
Safrin La Batu
The Jakarta Post
Hundreds of fishermen from Muara Angke in North Jakarta staged a rally in front of the Jakarta City Council (DPRD) offices on Thursday against the ongoing man-made islet projects off the North Jakarta and a related plan to relocate them to Thousands Islands regency.
Khafiddin, head of community unit (RW) 11, said to the several Jakarta councillors who met them during the rally that the man-made islets stirred up mud from the seabed, polluting seawater and killing fish in the area.
'Fishermen in the area have seen decreasing catches [since the start of the projects],' he said, urging councillors to force Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama to stop the projects.
He also said one of the projects, the construction of Islet G, had violated the law because it began without an environmental impact analysis (Amdal), a legally required document before developers start a project.
Man-made Islet G, a project by Muara Wisesa Samudera, subsidiary of publicly listed developer Agung Podomoro Land (APL), is part of the administration's plan to build 17 artificial islands on 2,700 hectares of sea along Jakarta's 32-kilometer-long northern coast.
Other developers involved in the reclamation besides Muara Wisesa Samudera include city-owned PT Jakarta Propertindo and PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol, publicly listed PT Intiland Development and developer Agung Sedayu Group's subsidiary PT Kapuk Naga Indah (KNI).
KNI is also involved, having built Islet D and half of Islet C.
Muara Angke fishermen filed a petition against Ahok's approval of the projects at the Jakarta State Administrative Court in September last year, claiming that they had decreased their catches and damaged the environment.
The legal battle is currently ongoing.
The fishermen particularly criticized Ahok's plan to relocate them to Thousand Islands. Ahok said the construction of low-cost rental apartments in Thousand Islands would begin next year.
He said the relocation was part of his effort to create order in North Jakarta.
'The relocation is a hasty plan. People in the islands want to come and stay here in the city. How can we in the city be relocated to the islands. That's a crazy idea,' said Muhammad Taher, a fisherman and head of the Association of Indonesian Traditional Fishermen (KNTI) in Jakarta.
He said thousands of traditional fishermen in the area could be impacted if the administration went ahead with the plan.
'The fishermen have been living in hardship so far. Now the governor wants to worsen our hard life by relocating us to Thousand Islands,' said another protester Rohidah.
She said she had been put through a number of relocations since she was born.
'I was born in Ancol. My house was destroyed and I was relocated to Muara Karang [also in North Jakarta] before I was moved to where I live now in Muara Angke. Now they want to move me to Thousand Islands,' she said.
'I am not an animal that can be kicked out whenever they like,' she added.
Muhammad Taufik, a Gerindra councillor and speaker of the Council, met with the group and said he would take the group's demands to a Council meeting, adding that the council needed to make a regulation regarding the reclamation to make it benefit fishermen.
'We have to have a regulation that says any company reclaiming land should contribute to fishermen. For example, they should regularly clean the market and dredge nearby canals. They should also ensure the well-being of local fishermen,' he said.
Regarding the administration's relocation plan, the Gerindra politician said that the council disagreed with it and assured that it would not happen.
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