The Jakarta Post
A government team from the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) that recently made an impromptu visit to check on alleged peatland conversion by PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) was denied entry to the site by security guards.
BRG head Nazir Foead, accompanied by BRG official Haris Gunawan, forest rangers, Forestry and Environment Ministry officials and villagers, said RAPP guards at the plantation in Meranti Islands regency asked to see a permit letter.
“It was an impromptu visit. Of course we did not carry any letter,” he said on Tuesday. “I just wanted to check and talk,” he said.
One of the forest rangers asked a security guard to call his superior, but he later told them the boss could not be reached by phone.
“They did not throw us out, there was no physical altercation, but they hampered us all the same. The company was not cooperating, and I suspect something fishy. We could not take pictures, could not check the coordinates,” Nazir said.
Locals said the company had converted about 50 hectares of peatland to plant acacia in the past two months.
Nazir said his office had summoned RAPP and they had met in Jakarta on Aug. 2, with RAPP saying all its activities were legal.
In a written statement, RAPP said it regretted the “lack of coordination among our security guards” that hampered the BRG visit on Sept. 5.
“We will discuss the results of field verification with the BRG this week,” the company stated on Tuesday. (evi)
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