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Itís a Jungle Out There

Growing Opposition Over Jakartaís Plans to Develop Large Tract of National Jungle in Baliís North for Tourist Project

(5/13/2012) A principal agreement issued by the Minister of Forestry to PT Nusa Bali Abadi (NBA) to use the State-owned jungle area of Dasong, Buleleng, North Bali is once again coming under intense criticism in Bali.

An original permit granted in 2007 to PT NBA prompted a strong written protest from Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika to the Minister of Forestry in 2009, demanding the permit be withdrawn. The governor’s letter, 3 years later, has yet to be dignified with a response from the Minister of Forestry.

Quoted by Kompas.com, on Friday, May 11, 2012, as Pastika explained to members of the Walhi Environmental Action Group , “in 2009 I sent a letter to the Minister of Forestry asking the permit be withdrawn, but until now the permit has not been withdrawn.”

The polemic over the use of the Dason jungle intensified following recent reports that PT NBA has forwarded another request to the Buleleng government in North Bali requesting their permit be expanded to include a total of 102 hectares. That request has released a hailstorm of protests from the public and environmental groups demanding the provincial government of Bali be consistent in refusing a use change for natural jungle areas.

Opponents of the project point to the need to preserve forests as absorption areas to prevent flooding. Meanwhile, other are championing the religious significance of the area, located near a number of Hindu temples.

Governor Pastika admonished: “What’s important now is our hope that PT NBA understands the situation and local demands, If they want to have a business in Bali then they must acknowledge the local values held dear by all the Balinese people.”

To date PT NBA has not received the required recommendation for the project from the Governor of Bali as required by a 1994 law stipulating that all nature tourism enterprises must first be considered and reviewed by the Governor.