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Operating High Above the Law

Bali Discusses New Laws to Control Kite Flying While Existing Regulations Remain Largely Unenforced


Bali News: Operating High Above the Law
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(9/14/2012)

Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) reports that Bali provincial authorities are exploring revisions to local laws and regulations to control the Balinese pastime of kite flying and the resulting threat posed to aviation safety and the island’s electrical supply.

There are, in fact, long-standing laws in place restricting kite flying in areas near Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport [See: An Island With Strings Attached] .

Those laws in force since 2000, prohibit kite flying within 9 kilometers of Bali’s airport. At a distance of between 9-18 kilometers from the airport, kites cannot be flown more than 100 meters above ground level. At a distance of between 18-54 kilometers from the airport the maximum height restriction becomes 300 meters.

The law also provides for punishments of up to six month in prison and fines of Rp. 16 million (US$1,672) for kite enthusiasts found guilty of endangering flight safety.

To even the most casual observer, however, it is apparent that these laws are ignored by local kite enthusiasts and not enforced by local authorities. Moreover, a number of officially sanctioned kite flying competitions are held in Bali that fly kites at heights disallowed under the law.

While the threat to aviation of an aircraft colliding with kites that are sometimes larger than the large trucks used to ferry the kites and crew back and forth from local kite flying competitions is obvious, there is the additional threat posed to the island’s power system when a flying behemoth collides with a high power line.

PLN (Power Board) officials have reportedly called on officials to control the kites that have been sourced to past island-wide blackouts costing the island billions of rupiahs.

One favorite kite flying area on Padang Galak Beach in Bali sees kites weaving and bobbing less than one hundred meters away from high-voltage lines critical to the island’s power grid.

PLN officials say the 2000 law-banning kite flying only addresses flight safety and does not extend protection to power lines. But, clearly, based on the ineffective enforcement of the current law, any change in the law will prove largely pointless unless it is teamed with a firm mechanism for enforcement capable of dealing with kite village-based kite teams who view their culturally based love of kite flying as taking precedence over any governmental rule or regulation.

I Ketut Teneng, provincial spokesperson for Bali, summarized the current dilemma, saying, 

“We have to preserve tradition, but at the same time we have to ensure the safety of air traffic and public utilities that may affect the lives of residents.”

Teneng told the press that the provincial government is seeking input from the community, the aviation sector and essential services on how to revise and best enforce kite-flying rules in Bali. Adding, “We need to preserve our cultural heritage, while at the same time we have to create a safe environment”

Related Articles

[There Ought to be a Law!]

[Don’t Go Fly a Kite!]

[Pulling the Strings of Power in Bali]

[The Killer Kites of Bali]

[Kites and Helicopters Don’t Mix in Bali]


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