Waiting for The Rescue of Tripa Peat Swamp
Translated from the Globe Journal Website by Adji Darsoyo
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The countdown on the status of the large scale oil palm companies operating on this highly carbon absorbing swamp has started. At last, the Government of Aceh is involved through the establishment of an internal investigation team. In one step, Tripa Peat Swamp will either be sustainable or completely destroyed. The commitment of the Governor of Aceh is to rescue.
“The Governor of Aceh has the authority to withdraw all permits in Tripa Peat Swamp if those companies are still clearing by burning,” said the Head of the Legal Office of the Province Secretariat of Aceh, Makmur Ibrahim SH M Hum.
Interviewed by The Globe Journal after attending an internal meeting related to Tripa Peat Swamp on Tuesday afternoon (31/7), Makmur said that the meeting decide to send a joint team on Thursday (2/8) consisting of different offices such as Bapedal, BP2T, Government Offices of Aceh, the Police, Provincial Office of Forestry and Plantation,” he said.
“If companies in Tripa Peat Swamp are violating their pemits, this means any clauses within the permits, e.g. the accordance with the permit for cultivation plantation during the implementation of the plantation, both technically and administratively with the existing regulation, as with the Regulation of the Ministry of Agriculture No. 62/2007 containing statement about clearing by burning. This is also written in the Environmental Law,” added Makmur.
The clause stated that if companies conduct land clearing by burning, this is absolutely wrong and the permit can be withdrawn.
Further, all companies in Tripa Peat Swamp are obliged to frequently submit physical report. “Concerning the report, there is none up to now,” said Makmur convincing.
According to Makmur, the leter from UKP4 and from WALHI Aceh about the withdrawal of the permits of two companies in Tripa Peat Swamp can only be used as additional references. “If there is no violation, the letter is not strong enough, except it is decided through a legal process,” he said.
Currently, the Government of Aceh only focuses on the withdrawal of the permits of PT. Kalista Alam. “We will finalise one by one. PT. SPS-2 is also in our investigation list. This means, the team will submit their recommendation regarding the withdrawal of companies’ permits in Tripa Peat Swamp,” he said.
According to a liable source to The Globe Journal after the meeting, the Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, stated that the permits of two companies are to be withdrawn, since they have violated the law through clearing by burning. I addition, those companies in Tripa Peat Swamp have never submitted their report, which is frequently due every six months.
Related to the burnig, wheter it is deliberately or accidentally, it is clear that the companies are obliged to control the fire, but the companies seem to be incapable to control the wide spreading fire. “So the permits of those companies in Tripa Peat Swamp will be withdrawn,” said the source to The Globe Journal, who also attended the meeting,