As recently reported in the Indonesian language Bali Post, Bali's Governor Dewa Made Beratha called on the Regent of Karangasem to put an end to the extortion being practiced against visitors to Bali's most sacred Mother temple of Besakih.
The Governor's comments were made during commemoration ceremonies for World Environment Day held at the Pura Besakih Wantilan on October 12, 2006.
The Governor told his listeners how, during a recent commercial flight, a stewardess complained bitterly of the extortion encountered by her family during a visit to Besakih. Repeating the comments made by the Stewardess, the Governor quoted, saying: "Mr. Governor, why were there individuals still practicing extortion when my and my family visited Besakih? The guide provided good commentary during the tour of the temple, but in the end we were extorted. When we entered we paid for a ticket and other charges at the locket, but the 'guide' demanded more money and would not accept the Rp. 50, 000 (approximately US$ 5.30) offered, but demanded hundred of thousands of Rupiah."
The Governor also told of complaints he had received regarding traders operating at Pura Besakih who, according to tourist visitors, were defrauding visitors purchasing local fruits, such as salak. The Governor called on Karangasem Regent I Wayan Geredeg to take definite action, warning: "Guides and traders are acting irresponsibly and must be brought into line. Don't allow small problems to create greater damage and hurt the image of the Besakih, giving Bali's most sacred temple a profane image."
The head of the Regency's Control Team for Besakih, Drs. I Wayan Gede Mustika, who is also the District Chief for Rendang, claimed that local traders were resisting efforts to bring order to the temple area. Recently his team made formal complaints against two unruly traders to local police officials.
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