1 August 2012 - The Globe Journal -The countdown on the status of the large scale oil palm companies operating on this highly carbon absorbing swamp has started. At last, the Government of Aceh is involved through the establishment of an internal investigation team. In one step, Tripa Peat Swamp will either be restored or destroyed. The commitment of the Governor of Aceh will decide.

 

“The Governor of Aceh has the authority to withdraw all permits in Tripa Peat Swamp if those companies are still clearing by burning,” said the Head of the Legal Office of the Province Secretariat of Aceh, Makmur Ibrahim SH M Hum.

Interviewed by The Globe Journal after attending an internal meeting related to Tripa Peat Swamp on Tuesday afternoon (31/7), Makmur said that the meeting decide to send a joint team on Thursday (2/8) consisting of different offices such as Bapedal, BP2T, Government Offices of Aceh, the Police, Provincial Office of Forestry and Plantation,” he said.

“If companies in Tripa Peat Swamp are violating their permits, if there is any clauses within the permits, e.g. Operation and implementation not in accordance to the permits, both technically and administratively alligned with the existing regulation, as well as the Regulation of the Ministry of Agriculture No. 62/2007 containing statement forbidding clearing by burning, Which is also written in the Environmental Law,” added  Makmur.

The clause stated that if companies conduct land clearing by burning, this is clearly violating the regulation and the permit could get revoked.

Further, all companies in Tripa Peat Swamp are obliged to frequently submit physical report. “Concerning the report, there is none up to now,” said Makmur convincing.

According to Makmur, the leter from UKP4 and from WALHI Aceh about the withdrawal of the permits of two companies in Tripa Peat Swamp can only be used as additional references. “If there is no violation, the letter is not strong enough, except it is decided through a legal process,” he said.

Currently, the Government of Aceh only focuses on the withdrawal of the permits of PT. Kalista Alam. “We will finalise one by one. PT. SPS-2 is also in our investigation list. This means, the team will submit their recommendation regarding the withdrawal of companies’ permits in Tripa Peat Swamp,” he said.

According to a liable source to The Globe Journal after the meeting, the Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, stated that the permits of two companies are to be withdrawn, since they have violated the law through clearing by burning. I addition, those companies in Tripa Peat Swamp have never submitted  their report, which is frequently due every six months.

Related to the burning, whether it is deliberately or accidentally, it is clear that the companies are obliged to control the fire, but the companies seem to be incapable to control the wide spreading fire. “So the permits of those companies in Tripa Peat Swamp will be withdrawn,” said the source to The Globe Journal, who also attended the meeting.


Reported by Firman Hidayat