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Mentawai Residents Oppose Permit for Industrial Forest

The residents and regency administration of the Mentawai Islands have opposed the decision made by the central government and West Sumatra provincial administration to grant an industrial forest (HTI) permit for a company in Siberut Island, The Jakarta Post reported.

College students from Mentawai Students Forum joint a protest in Padang. Photo source: cakrawala.co

The HTI permit was given to private firm PT Biomass Andalan Energi for 20,030 hectares.

At least 50 Mentawai residents, mostly college students, protested in front of the West Sumatra Environment Agency on Wednesday to express their opposition. At the same time as the residents’ protest, the agency was
holding a meeting to discuss the environmental impact analysis (Amdal). The group demanded the agency not proceed with the meeting, arguing that granting the permit would be disadvantageous to Mentawai.

“Since the 1970s, the production forest concession has only resulted in floods,” said Daudi Silvanus Satoko, who led the protest on Wednesday.

Acting Environment Agency head Siti Aisyah, who met with protesters, said her office would not dare to issue a permit that did not follow proper procedure as it would create a legal fallacy. The meeting to discuss the Amdal, she said, had been attended by representatives from various stakeholders.

Not only the residents, but the Mentawai Islands regency administration also urged the central and provincial governments not to proceed with the plan.

Mentawai deputy regent Kortanius Sabeleake said that the regency administration had sent a letter to the Environment and Forestry Ministry to lodge a protest. However, no response has yet been received.

He said the lands managed by local people on Siberut Island had been decreasing. Some 127,715 ha of land out of the island’s total area of 386,715 ha are now concession areas for three companies.

Read full article, here

Source: thejakartapost.com / Author: Syofiardi Bachyul

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