In defense of residents’ rights, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) urged Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika to comply with its recommendations on the province’s plan to reclaim Benoa Bay. The commission in a letter stated that to control and prevent conflict the administration should ensure the situation in Benoa was under control. It called on the governor to study data, information and input from residents. The letter was released following the commission’s dialogue with locals in Benoa recently.
“Locals must be invited to participate fully in the environment and tourism issues,” said commissioner Nur Kholis in the letter. Suriadi Darmoko, political division head for Citizens’ Forum Rejecting Reclamation (ForBALI), said the plan had been blighted by conflict. “Komnas HAM’s letter shows that this issue is prone to conflict, because the administration isn’t being transparent,” Suriadi said. ForBALI urged the governor to revoke his letter as permitted PT Tirta Wahana Bali International (TWBI) to develop in the Benoa Bay area as the project was unfeasible.
Pastika, however, said that the letter only permitted TWBI to hold a feasibility study of the reclamation plan. ForBALI’s statement has the backing of Udayana University experts and Conservation International (CI), who conducted a modeling study in Benoa and concluded that the reclamation was not feasible. Their research showed that Benoa’s reclamation could result in seawater intrusion around the area. Benoa Bay is situated in Badung and Denpasar, the two richest areas in Bali. It is attractive to investors because of its marine life, mangrove forest and coral reef.
Moreover, the province constructed the Bali Mandara toll road over it, thus making it a strategic investment point. A private investor was reportedly building an “Indonesian Disneyland” in Benoa; complete with golf course, real estate and mall. Several laws prohibit the exploitation of conservation sites, such as Presidential Regulation No. 45/2011 on the spatial planning of Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Tabanan, and the 2007 law on coastal area and small island management. The laws named Benoa Bay as a water conservation area.
Meanwhile, Pastika said he had complied with Komnas HAM’s request. “As a matter of fact, the governor complied with all the demands before the idea was brought up,” administration spokesman I Ketut Teneng said on Wednesday. Teneng said Pastika had coordinated with local leaders and had involved citizens in the reclamation talks.
source : bali daily