West Kalimantan Governor Expels Envoys of 20 Palm Oil Companies Because Reluctant to Help Flood Victims

West Kalimantan Governor Expels Envoys of 20 Palm Oil Companies Because Reluctant to Help Flood Victims

The flash floods in West Kalimantan have not subsided, according to Governor Sutarmidji, triggered by deforestation caused by oil palm expansion. He wants to revoke the problematic palm oil license, but the control lies with the central government.

(Pictured by: Selvireina, Posted in Instagram of Berita Sintang)

Since the end of October 2021, some areas in West Kalimantan have experienced flash floods. The worst flooding was experienced by the Sintang Regency, where 12 sub-districts were still submerged in water as high as 5-7 cm until this article was published.


According to Detik.com’s report, at least 140,000 residents in Sintang Regency were affected by floods, forcing thousands of people to evacuate, while two people died. Apart from Sintang, the districts of Kapuas Hulu, Ketapang, and Sekadau in West Kalimantan also experienced flooding due to unaccommodated rainfall in the upstream area of ​​the river, inundating residential areas.


The Governor of West Kalimantan, Sutarmidji, explicitly stated that this year’s flood disaster was due to deforestation in his area, causing rivers to overflow uncontrollably when rainfall increased since October 13 last. The deforestation, according to him, was triggered by the actions of palm oil companies who neglected to replant forest areas that had been cut down. The governor, who is often nicknamed Bang Midji, admits that mining activities without permits are also to blame because they have drastically reduced water catchment areas in watersheds (DAS).


“[Flood] is now more frequent because deforestation and mining are not followed by handling disposal sites, water flows and so on,” said Sutarmidji when interviewed on TVOne. From the West Kalimantan Provincial Government records 70 percent of the Kapuas River watershed has been damaged due to a combination of plantation and mining activities, even though the area around the river has been the heart of West Kalimantan civilization so far.


On November 8, 2021, Sutarmidji claimed to have invited 20 palm oil companies operating in West Kalimantan to his office in Pontianak, in order to ask them to help provide assistance to residents affected by the floods. However, according to the governor, the corporate envoys who came were employees who could not make decisions or argued that their concession permits were far from flood-affected areas.


Feeling insulted by these various reasons, Sutarmidji expelled the 20 representatives of palm oil companies from his office. The governor wrote the confession on his personal Facebook page.


Sutarmidji admits that the forests in West Kalimantan have shrunk severely, even almost gone, due to government policy errors. The provincial government and the central ministry have for years sold out the Industrial Timber Forest Product Management Business Permit (IUPHHK-HTI). Coupled with weak supervision, as a result, permit violations often occur from the field.


“HTI is given, it should be with management in treating the land. But what the current HTI concession holder is doing is taking all the wood, cutting it all down, he doesn’t pay the forest product dues, then he leaves the land, he doesn’t plant anymore,” said the Governor of West Kalimantan as quoted by CNN Indonesia.


Sutarmidji argued that taking action against palm oil companies that clear forests or mines that damage river flows is not solely under the control of the West Kalimantan Provincial Government. He blamed the central government because the permits for some of the extractive businesses were issued by officials in Jakarta.


“Now we don’t know who is responsible for handling mining, because the licensing is at the center,” said Sutarmidji when confirmed by the Pontianak Tribune. In a separate interview, the Governor of West Kalimantan urged the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) to immediately revoke all HTI palm oil plantations in his area and return them to the community.


The West Kalimantan governor’s tough attitude towards palm oil follows the trend of regional heads in Indonesia who are starting to feel that the expansion of oil palm in their area will bring more harm. In 2017, the governors of Papua and West Papua, both committed to preserving 70 percent of the forest area in their territory, reducing the expansion of extractive industries.


Meanwhile, in April 2021, Regent Johny Kamuru revoked the permits of three oil palm plantation companies in Sorong, West Papua. The regent’s actions led to a lawsuit against the Administrative Court, which is still being tried today. The Sorong Regency Government suspects that the plantation permit is only a mode for logging wood, thus damaging the environment and the quality of life of the residents.


Original Page From: Gubernur Kalbar Usir Utusan 20 Perusahaan Sawit Karena Ogah Bantu Korban Banjir

No Comments

Post A Comment