Monday, 30 July, 2012 | 16:13 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The Bogor district government should not be selfish. This area is indeed entitled to revise zoning in the area, but it must still comply with the provisions of national spatial planning. In other words, protected forests and water catchment areas in Puncak must be preserved because they are critical to protecting other areas, particularly Jakarta, from flooding.
The regency’s attitude is troubling because it is trying to legalize the plundering of forests and water catchment areas. The current draft revision of the regional spatial planning compromises environmental sustainability and will also allow 1,200 unlicensed villas in Puncak to be legalized.
According to Suryanto Purba, an official at Bogor’s Regional Development Agency, Bogor will not have protected forests if the draft is passed. Only conservation and production forests will remain. Protected forest in the area currently covers 8.7 thousand hectares but if the draft revision is passed this area will be converted into production forests, plantations and settlements.
The onslaught of new villas and housing has demolished protected forest, with much of the area cleared to build bungalows for officials and businessmen from Jakarta. In fact, according to Tempo magazine, the illegal villas that are owned by a number of generals and high officials are also found in very high locations in Puncak.
The central government must intervene. In any case, the revision to regional spatial planning regulations must comply with national spatial planning laws. This is regulated in Law Number 26/2007 on Spatial Planning. The Bogor regency is clearly part of a special area, together with its surrounding areas, such as Jakarta, Tangerang, Jakarta, Cianjur and Depok. These areas are governed by spatial planning in Presidential Regulation No. 54/2008.
The regulation clearly stipulates, for example, that areas defined as non-cultivation areas, including protected forests and water catchment areas, may not be used for residential or commercial purposes.
Officials and legislators at the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) in Bogor should realize that their plans contradict Law No. 41/1999 on Forestry. Illegal villa owners in Bogor should be arrested and jailed instead of being accommodated and legalized. Article 79, for example, states that whoever is illegally exploiting, using and occupying forest area can be jailed for 10 years and fined Rp5 billion.
Giving in to the current reality may be advantageous to the Bogor Regency. By allowing villas and business centers to mushroom out of control, their revenues will increase. This benefit, however, does not compare with the magnitude of the attendant dangers from sacrificing its protected forests. If this goes ahead, the population of Bogor and also other areas such as Depok, Jakarta, and Bekasi will be at a higher risk of natural disasters. ****