The Jakarta Post
The Environment and Forestry Ministry has stated that the development of infrastructure and facilities within the Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara was being conducted by a private company to support tourism.
The statement was made in response to protests against the development on Monday, which led to construction being halted.
Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) director general Wiratno said the development was intended to support tourism.
“Infrastructure and facilities within nature tourism located in the national park are needed to support the tourism side, such as toilets, restaurants, etc.,” he said in an official statement on Thursday.
PT Segara Komodo Lestari and PT Komodo Ecotourism Wildlife, the developers, were given permits to build infrastructure and facilities such as an inn and a restaurant on Komodo Island, Rinca Island and Padar Island, all within the national park area.
West Manggarai Tourism Rescue Society Forum chairman Rafael Todowela said the project was against the concept of ecotourism and also damaged the habitat of the komodo dragons that lived in the park. “The function of the Komodo National Park has to be returned to its original function,” he said on Tuesday as quoted by tempo.co.
The protesters staged a rally in front of the Marbar Council building in the regency and the national park management office to protest the project on Monday, as reported by kompas.com.
Wiratno said the government halted the construction to give time to the protesters to examine facts about the project.
Wiratno said the developers had followed procedures, including in regard to conservation and the management of the local community. (sau)