The Jakarta Post , Bandung | Fri, 08/08/2008 8:35 PM | National
Some 100 students and environment activists staged a rally Friday in front of the Singapore International School in Punclut, North Bandung, accusing it of having violated laws on conservation.
Naming themselves North Bandung region forum of struggle, the group symbolically "sealed" the building they considered as having destroyed the Punclut conservation area.
"Thanks to the damage in this conservation area, Bandung is more barren and hotter today. More people also find it difficult to get clean water supply," Taufan, one of the protesters, said.
Taufan said the building was sealed because it did not have a document on environmental impact analysis.
Another protester, Herman Didi, said that the infertility of Punclut as the result of massive tree cutting have caused the wells in the surrounding villages drying up.
"Previously, we needed only to dig for three meters deep to get water. Now we need to do so for over 10 meters deep," said Herman, who claimed to have been born and grown in a village right below Punclut.
The school is the first building that has been developed in an elite residential and business complex project in Punclut conservation area by PT Dam Utama Sakti Prima. Named as Allegro Altura, the 248-hectare project is located between 800 meters and 1,100 meters above the sea level.
Although Friday's rally was marred with tension between the protesters and security guards, it did not disturb the teaching and learning activities inside the school that has been in operation since last year.
The Punclut case has been the concern of environment activists since 2000.
Many have been done to deal with the case. The latest move was made Thursday by filing a legal standing to Bandung district court, demanding it to order the mayor and municipal legislature council to restore Punclut status as a conservation area.
The activists' lawyer, Ie Yogaswara, said the mayor's cooperation with the developer violated Law No. 47/1997 on national spatial planning, Home Affairs Ministerial decree No. 8/1998, and West Java bylaw No. 2/2003 on regional spatial planning designating North Bandung as a conservation area.
Earlier, based on its 2005-2007 report on air pollution, the Supreme Audit Body (BPK)'s Bandung office has recommended the ministry of environment to conduct a thorough investigation into the conversion of North Bandung conservation area into a business and residential one.
The BPK also ordered West Java governor to admonish Bandung Mayor Dada Rosada regarding a data saying that there would be 183 new buildings in the area, 152 of which were two-story private residential buildings. The rest were 30 town house buildings and a hotel of between three and seven floors.
In 2006, the Attorney General Office reportedly has also indicated a collusion practice between the mayor and owner of PT Dam, Fandam Darmawan, in converting Punclut status to realize the Allegro Altura project.
"We have agreed to file a judicial review to the Supreme Court to examine Bandung municipal bylaw on spatial planning, issued by Mayor Dada Rosada's administration," Yogaswara said. (yts)