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Jakarta Post

Residents '€˜not ready'€™ for Jatigede dam

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Mon, June 29, 2015   /  01:11 pm

Residents impacted by the Jatigede reservoir project in Sumedang regency, West Java, have asked the government to postpone the dam filling process, scheduled to begin on Aug. 1, until the project'€™s social impact on each family has been calculated.

Didi Nurhadi, head of Cipaku village, Darmaraja district, said that even though the social impacts on 1,238 households affected by the dam had not been solved, the government had started to distribute compensation and cash assistance on Friday.

'€œPeople still don'€™t know where to go,'€ Didi told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.

President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo has issued Presidential Regulation No. 1/2015 regarding the social impacts which, among other things, divided the residents into two groups: those who receive Rp 122.5 million (US$9,187) compensation and those who get Rp 29.36 million in cash assistance. A family'€™s grouping is based on its ownership of land, buildings and plantations.

Didi said the regulation urged every family to leave the land within a week of receiving compensation or cash assistance.

'€œNow they have received Rp 29 million for the loss of their houses, but they don'€™t know where to move out to. It'€™s not because we reject the dam development,'€ he said.

The dam filling process will submerge at least eight villages. Three villages will be fully submerged while five others will have some cattle-grazing plots left dry.

One of the residents of Sukakersa village in Wado district, Hatijah, 52, admitted that she and her family still had no idea where to live after they received their Rp 122.5 million compensation, adding that she hoped her family could move, with other residents, to the unaffected grazing plots.

'€œBut if we go there, what will we do for a living? Now we work as farmers, but when we move, we don'€™t know if there will be farmland for us to work on,'€ Hatijah said.

Similarly, Atam, 63, of Bojong Salam hamlet, Padajaya village, Wado district, said 127 families in his village had not been included in the government data.

'€œThere is not enough time to verify the data, if we are to move out soon,'€ he said.

Separately, Sumedang Deputy Regent Eka Setiawan admitted that the compensation program remained beset with problems, but urged residents to submit their complaints to the committee responsible for the payment of compensation and cash assistance.

'€œThe question of which groups are to receive compensation and cash assistance has been long debated. Later, a team from the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry will settle it,'€ said Eka.

The Jatigede dam, set to be the country'€™s second-largest, is considered crucial to ensuring Indonesia'€™s food security. The dam is being built on 4,891 hectares of land covering 26 subdistricts over five districts of West Java. It will have the capacity to retain 979 million cubic meters of water to irrigate around 90,000 hectares of rice fields in Sumedang, Indramayu and Cirebon regencies.

The dam will also be able to supply drinking water at a rate of 3,500 liters per second and generate 110 megawatts of electricity.

Most of the families received compensation and agreed to relocate when construction on the project began in the early 1980s. However, the majority returned over the course of the following decade after learning that the project had stalled as a result of funding issues and other setbacks.

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