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Jakarta Post

Forced evictions getting harsher

  • Agnes Anya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 17, 2016   /  09:31 am
Forced evictions getting harsher

The city administration is implementing increasingly tougher measures against Jakarta'€™s urban poor, with eviction plans more swift and forceful than ever before.

The recent eviction in Kalijodo was executed much more swiftly and forcefully than last year'€™s Kampung Pulo eviction in East Jakarta, for example.

Furthermore, Jakarta Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama said recently that the administration would not send warning letters to residents occupying areas under elevated roads in Jakarta.

The city'€™s latest eviction order is for residents living under the elevated roads of Penjaringan in North Jakarta. On Wednesday, residents started to pack their belongings in anticipation of the worst possible outcome.

Misdianto, living in an open room under a toll road filled with waste from nearby hotels near Rawa Bebek, East Jakarta, confessed to feeling anxious about the eviction plan as he had yet to hear any solutions or recommendations from the government pertaining to his future.

The 45-year-old man, who moved to Jakarta from Madiun in East Java in 1982, said that he would bring his family and find any empty place to live in once the eviction occurred, adding that according to a letter he received on Friday, he had three days to clear out of the area.

Sri, who has been living under bridges for more than 20 years, said that she and the other residents had never been involved in the decision-making process before a letter ordering her to leave home no later than Wednesday was suddenly issued.

She added that she had faced five evictions, the first one in Muara Karang, North Jakarta.

As a scavenger, she struggles to make a living as she only earns between Rp 10,000 (74 US cents) and Rp 15,000 daily.

Before the eviction in Penjaringan, the administration evicted 380 makeshift houses under an elevated road in Pluit in North Jakarta. The administration wants to transform the area into a parking lot or a public space.

Ahok said that last month the administration cleared the area but residents from outside of Jakarta came in and illegally occupied the area. Because of this fact, he said, the administration was not required to send three warning letters or conduct discussions to evict them.

'€œThere'€™s no need for a warning letter. They have occupied state land and so they should have known about the eviction,'€ said Ahok.

Ahok further added that the administration would not provide the residents with apartments because most of them did not own Jakarta ID cards.

'€œIf they have Jakarta ID cards, we will give them apartments because we have 650 available apartments,'€ Ahok said, adding that the apartments were smaller than those usually given to previous evictees.

Under the elevated road in Pluit, people usually live in rented rooms that they rent for between Rp 200,000 and Rp 350,000 a month.

In addition to the evictees of Pluit and Kalijodo, the city administration is set to evict thousands more in the capital following the administration'€™s plan to clear slum areas.

In response to the plan, the Jakarta Housing and Government Building Agency is preparing to build 3,000 low-cost apartments.

'€œThe mayor has offered around 3,000 apartments to us,'€ said Ika Lestari Aji, the head of the agency.

She added, however, that the number of residents to be evicted might be higher than the available apartments, which are set aside for those with Jakarta ID cards.

'€œIn fact, many people who are evicted usually do not have Jakarta ID cards or land certificates. Therefore, we cannot provide them with apartments,'€ Ika added.

Ika said that the city administration would build some 20,000 apartments in 39 locations across the capital in response to the administration'€™s plans to relocate its residents from slum areas.

Separately, lawyer Alldo Fellix Januardy from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) said that providing apartments would not improve the lives of residents.

Instead, he argued that it would likely make the evictees poorer as most of the apartments were located far from their source of income.

'€œThey previously had jobs and houses but because of the eviction, they lost all of that. They might become poorer.'€

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