TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The Sidoarjo Mud Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPLS) proposed that the government pay the remaining damages fee to the Lapindo mudflow victims, deriving funds from the state revenues. The decision was taken in a meeting between the BPLS, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights; the Ministry of Finance; the East Java Provincial Government; and the Sidoarjo city administration on Wednesday.
"I will report this decision and propose it to the President," Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto, who doubles as BPLS Advisory Board chairman, said yesterday.
He said there are two alternatives in settling mud victims' compensation. The first option is for the government to bail PT Minarak Lapindo Jaya so the company could pay the remainder of the compensation. Lapindo will then be obligated to return the bailout to the government.
The second alternative is for the government to pay the remaining compensation by purchasing affected areas. By doing so, 20 percent of the 640 hectares of land will be owned by the government. "The total amount of the unpaid land amounts to Rp781 billion," said Djoko.
The minister admitted that no allocation has been made for the Lapindo victim compensation. The most important thing right now, he said, is to make a decision. That way, the approved budget can be posted in the proposal.
"The budget allocation for the damages fee will be processed after the President approves BPLS' proposal," he said.
House of Representatives Budget Committee member, Dolfie OF Palit, rejected BPLS' the. He said the government's responsibility is limited to the victims outside the affected areas. "Paying damages to victims in the affected areas is [Lapindo's] obligation entirely," said the PDI-P politician.
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