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Trading Coal for New Castles

Angry Citizens, Demanding Promised New Homes, Block Construction of New Coal Burning Power Plant in North Bali

(7/15/2012) Tens of protesting area residents blocked access roads leading to the Celukan Bawang Coal Fired Steam Power Plant in Bulelelng, north Bali.

As reported by the State News Agency Antara, the protest and demonstrations that saw wooden barriers erected to block the entrance to the power plant project was done to reflect the unhappiness of village residents with PT General Energy Bali (GEB) who, as developer of the infrastructure project, have failed to pay promised compensation to local landowners for land and buildings expropriated for the power plant

The protesting local residents forced workers on the power plant to lay down their tools. Moreover, the village chief of Celukan Bawang, Muhajir, was attacked by villagers who considered him incapable of playing a mediating role in the dispute.

Earlier Muhajir had announce that GEB would soon be finalizing problems surrounding the land expropriation, including the relocation of two mosques, one school, a cemetery and a number of local homes.

Separately, The Jakarta Post reported that the protest and blockage took place after five years of unsuccessful negotiations with GEB. Villagers are threatening that the blockage will continue until the promised monies and land certificates are presented to the landowners.

The contested power plant is 20 kilometers west of Singaraja, the capital of Buleleng regency. The value of the total project is put at US$742 million undertaken by GEB and a Chinese investor, China Huadian Engineering Corporation Ltd.

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