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Crackdown on Construction Near Uluwatu

Governor Beratha Warns Building Owners within 5 KM Radius of Uluwatu They Face Prison and Fines.

(4/26/2008) Public complaints that villas have been built within a 5 kilometer "no-building" sacred zone surround Bali's Uluwatu temple, have caused Bali's Governor Made Beratha to request an urgent crackdown against all structures falling within the protected area. The Governor also condemned residents of Pecatu (near Uluwatu), who have demanded that the "no-build" zone be reduced to only a 1 kilometer radius as being misguided and confused.

As reported in Radar Bali, the Provincial Zoning Rules (RTRW) clearly stipulated that any area within 5 kilometers a major temple complex is to be considered a sacred zone. Speaking though a spokesperson, the Governor reminded that the Provincial zoning rules were not drawn up in a day. but were the end result of a long discussion process involving many parties. Because of this broad based consensus, the Governor is vowing to jealously protect the 5 kilometer sacred zone surrounding Uluwatu.

When asked about the numerous villas now standing within the "sacred zone," the Governor's spokesman ask how was it possible that any of the necessary permits were issued by those entrusted with the responsibility to enforce local regulations.

Illegal villas to be Demolished

The spokesman said that if it is proven that there are villas without the required permits, the Badung Government will be faced with the choice of whether or not to enforce the law, saying a failure to do so will create a poor precedent for the future. "If they (the illegal villas) must be demolished, then demolish them," added the Governor spokesperson.

Spiritual Villas?

The Governor has also rejected out of hand a suggestion from a local parliamentarian, IB Suryatmaja, who is urging exemptions for villas built in the "sacred zone" for spiritual purposes be exempted form the ban. The Governor has questioned what constitutes a "spiritual villa" and how such a special category would be monitored and enforced. The Governor's response: Maintain the 5 kilometer sacred zone!

Supporting the Governor's tough stance is the Chief of Tourism for the Island of Bali, I Gde Nurjaya, who told Radar Bali "there can be negotiation; the sacred radius for a temple must be honored."

Jail and Fine for Illegal Villa Owners?

Radar Bali also reports the a provincial law passed in 2005 provides for fines of Rp. 50 million (US$5,430) and 6 months in jail for those convicted of building within the 5 kilometer sacred zone surrounding a major temple.

When the Vice-Chairman of Bali's provincial House of Representatives (DPRD), IGK Adhiputra, was challenged by the press, asking if villa owners eventually prosecuted for illegal buildings would be in a legal position to sue the Badung Government for illegally issuing permits for sacred zone construction, he said the prosecution of illegal villa could proceed in any case. "If they want to sue, let them," said Adhiputra in supporting the Governors "get tough" stance. Adhiputra worked as a State Prosecutor before retiring to become a local legislator.

Adhiputa also called on the Government to assist the preservation of sacred lands by eliminating property taxes within the sacred zone. Such a move, he maintains, would ease the burden on local Balinese ordered to refrain from building or developing these areas.