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50% of land for national strategic projects involved in agrarian conflicts: KPA

CNN Indonesia - January 6, 2022

Jakarta – The Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) has revealed that throughout 2021 almost 50 percent of land procured by the government for national strategic projects (PSN) originated from agrarian conflicts.

The KPA says that agrarian conflicts in the infrastructure and property sector as a result of national strategic projects in 2021 have resulted in 40 incidents and that these agrarian conflicts have occurred on land covering a cumulative total of 11.466,923 hectares.

The types of national strategic projects causing conflicts range from land procurement for constructing toll roads, dams, ports, railway lines, industrial and tourist areas through to the development of special economic zones (KEK).

"If linked to the size of the land procurement required by the government for pursuing PSN in 2021, the land area of these conflicts was 49.8 percent of the total land area needed for PSN", said KPA Secretary General Dewi Sartika during an event launching the KPA's annual report on Thursday January 6.

Sartika explained that the number one cause of agrarian confects in 2021 was still the plantation sector with as many as 52 flare ups, while in second place was infrastructure projects pursued by the state.

"The number (of agrarian conflicts related to PSN) experienced a significant increase of 73 percent compared with 2020", said Sartika.

"Out of these 52 conflicts, 38 cases originated from PSN. Thus agrarian conflicts as a consequence of PSN experienced a big jump of as much as 123 percent compared with 2020", she said.

Sartika added that the increase in the number of agrarian conflicts as a result of infrastructure development was closely related to the acceleration of project execution targets and various supporting regulations.

Since Presidential Regulation Number 109/2020 on the Acceleration of the Implementation of National Strategic Projects was issued, the KPA has recorded more than 200 giant business projects owned by businesses claiming to be in the public interest.

Overlapping claims

According to the KPA, the main problem with national strategic projects which end in agrarian conflicts is that land targeted for procurement for the public interests overlaps with land and agricultural land belonging to communities.

On the other hand meanwhile, the government can be seen to be rushing to finish these projects.

"(The government uses) processes which are rushed through, not transparent or participatory, which fail to respect and protect the constitutional rights of the people impacted on, (as well as) tending to place communities as objects rather than the subjects of development", said Sartika.

Furthermore, despite national strategic projects often resulting in forced evictions and agrarian conflicts, Sartika believes that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in fact often gives out signals that he won't hesitate to legally punish those who are deemed to obstruct the development process.

Widodo has for example made a statement calling on all regional police chiefs (Kapolda) in Indonesia to safeguard investment. Widodo even threatened to order Indonesian police chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo to sack regional police chiefs who fail to safeguard investment.

"If there are those who are disruptive in investment areas, safeguard and assist them, so that every investment is truly realised", said Widodo in his directive to Polri (Indonesian police) and TNI (Indonesian military) regional unit heads in Bali on Friday December 3 last year. (cfd/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KPA: 50 Persen Lahan Proyek Stranas 2021 Berasal dari Konflik Agraria".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20220106140619-20-743377/kpa-50-persen-lahan-proyek-stranas-2021-berasal-dari-konflik-agrari