Palm Oil Permits to be Revoked, says Forestry Minister
JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Ministry of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan ensured on Wednesday (23/5) the withdrawal of the permit for 1,605 ha area in Leuser Ecosystem’s Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh. Regional Heads are requested to be careful before issuing permit for land use conversion.
“I’ve met with the elected Aceh Governor, Zaini Abdullah and (Vice Governor) Muzakir Manaf. The permit will be withdrawn after inauguration,” said Zulkifli Hasan in Jakarta yesterday. The inauguration will be held on June 4, 2012.
In Banda Aceh, the elected Governor Zaini Abdullah said that he is ready to stop issuance of land clearing for plantation to companies proven to violate the law and to threat the sustainability of the forest. This is also to be charged to PT Kalista Alam in Nagan Raya’s Tripa Peat Swamp.
“The Presidential Instruction is clear that it (Tripa Peat Swam) is within the Leuser Ecosystem, a forest area with protecting function. Presidential Instruction stated it has to be stop. In the future, we will pay attention, we will stop permits that are not in compliance with the Presidential Instruction,” said Zaini.
The case started as Aceh Governor (Irwandi Yusuf) issue a permit to PT Kalista Alam in August 2011 to utilise 1,605 ha for oil palm plantation. This policy has been condemned by various parties since it was issued while Indonesia is in terms of applying moratorium of new permits within forest and peatland areas.
The Tripa Peat Swamp is categorized to solid peat areas rich with its biodiversity and part of Leuser Ecosystem.
The case reached the Development Supervision and Control Division of the Presidential Working Unit (UKP4), which then recommended an investigation. The result, indication of deliberate clearing by burning as well as destruction of peat ecosystem has been identified.
According to Zulkifli, the 1,605 ha has the status of area for other purpose, means that the authority of its utilisation is under the Regional Government, not the Ministry of Forestry.
Therefore, he requested the Regional Heads to be careful with the issuance of permits within protected areas. “Back in 2009 I used to simply signed (permits) because I did not understand. Now, cross check with the map first, is it within the moratorium areas or not,” he said.
Deddy Ratih of WALHI said that the 1,605 ha is only a small piece amongst other plantation on eatlands of Leuser Ecosystem. He urge to review the permits.
Heru Prasetyo, 1st Deputi of the UKP4, said that the chaos of permits such as the one in Tripa Peat Swamp can occur in various regions. He call to civil society for being more active in controlling and in observing forests and peatlands.
The momentum of the permits moratorium is expected to be the arena for the improvement of resources management in Indonesia. “The President himself requested to monitor the implementation of the moratorium,” said Heru.