Environment Magazine

Soldiers Sent to Enforce Relocation of Ciliwung Riverbank Communities

Posted on the 07 June 2014 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal


from Jakarta Post

Dozens of residents living along the riverbank of the Ciliwung in Condet, East Jakarta, are protesting the city’s relocation program, saying they were not previously informed about the plan.

According to Ciliwung Care Community (KPC) Jakarta secretary Jamal Rais, though the program is supposedly to move illegal squatters, three houses along the riverbank were legally built with proper land certificates. He also said a handful of people legally owned vacant lots.

“The city administration has not told us about the normalization project. Suddenly, several people from the contractor put up dividers last Wednesday to mark the lots that would be evicted to make way for the project,” Jamal told The Jakarta Post recently.

As the effects of perennial flooding worsen in Jakarta, the city administration is moving on an ambitious plan to dredge and widen the banks of the Ciliwung, which regularly overflows.

The project will necessarily entail the eviction of residents and destruction of their dwellings along the river’s banks.

The city administration also plans to dredge and widen the Ciliwung where it runs through Kampung Pulo, East Jakarta. The city is building a rusunawa (low-cost apartment building) for the relocation of Kampung Pulo residents.

However, the fate of the Condet residents remains unclear.

Jamal said residents were angry that the dividers had been put up without discussions on compensation or relocation.

“We understand that the normalization project is important for the city and the environment. However, where are the residents supposed to live if they are evicted from their homes?”

One resident, 42-year-old Marwoto Hasyim, who owns a 1,600 square-meter plot on the riverbank, said that the landowners were offended that the contractor began moving on the project without first consulting them.

“The contractors even brought two soldiers with them while they were putting up the dividers. Why did they bring soldiers? They should have discussed it with us without the threat of force,” Marwoto said.

Marwoto also said that he and the other landowners had purposely left their land vacant so it could help absorb floodwater from the river.

He added that he and the rest of Condet residents supported the normalization project.

“Our neighborhood is often hit by floods. If the normalization project is completed, our neighborhood will no longer be flooded,” Marwoto said.

He also said, however, that the city should discuss the matter with the residents before moving on the program.

“We legally own the houses and land. We should be included in discussions. The city administration would be breaking the law if it started evictions without consulting the rightful owners beforehand,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, Ciliwung normalization project contractor Didik Sustiono said that the city administration would delay dredging operations in Condet to first discuss the program with the residents.

“We will coordinate with the Public Works Ministry regarding the residents’ protests. We will hold meetings and discussions with both parties,” Didik said as quoted by tribunnews.com. (dwa)

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