Activists have threatened to sue the Jakarta administration over alleged environmental and zoning violations during construction of an elevated road in South Jakarta.
Irvan Pulungan, a researcher from the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), said on Monday that the construction of the overpass at Jalan Antasari violated several regulations, including a 1999 spatial planning bylaw.
He said the bylaw, which covered the period 2000 to 2010, made no mention of the elevated road, while the bill for the new spatial plan, which includes the road, had not yet been legislated.
“The new spatial planning bylaw for 2010 to 2030 hasn’t been endorsed yet by the City Council, so the old bylaw must be the reference,” he said at a discussion on the elevated road constructions affecting Antasari and Jalan Casablanca, South Jakarta.
Irvan also said the project did not have an environmental strategic assessment (KLHS), which is mandatory for major infrastructure projects under the 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law.
He added the project also lacked an environmental impact analysis (Amdal), universally required for public works projects and private businesses.
Ahmad Safrudin, from the Committee Against Leaded Gasoline (KPBB), told the discussion that his group would meet on Thursday with residents, the city administration and officials from the city’s public works, transportation and environmental offices.
“We don’t want to disrupt the project, we just want the city to ensure that this important project is carried out in compliance with the proper procedures and regulations,” Ahmad said.
He added that if after Thursday the administration did not show any intention of complying, the residents would file suit.
“It could be a criminal and a civil suit,” he said.
“We’ve collected the data on the violations that the city has conducted as well as the residents’ complaints.”
Tommy Tamtomo, a resident of Jalan Cipete Raya, near the construction site, said the construction was proving a major disturbance.
“I can’t sleep because the construction is noisy and it also sends dust clouds over our homes and neighborhood,” he said at the discussion.
He said residents had set up a post to accommodate people’s complaints about the construction. Around two weeks ago, however, they were approached by a large crowd who threatened them, he said.
“They warned us [against complaining] and forced us to support the construction of the elevated roads because it was in the public interest,” Tommy said.
He also said there had never been any clear or direct attempt by the city administration to inform residents about the construction.
However, Novizal, head of the bridge unit at the Jakarta Public Works Office, denied the allegations of violations, insisting the city had followed all legal procedures for the construction.
“We’ve acquired the Amdal and the KLHS from the city’s environment agency, so we haven’t violated any regulation,” he told the Jakarta Globe.
He said the city had also informed the residents about the construction.
“We made announcements and also invited people for discussions at the [South Jakarta] mayor’s office,” Novizal said.
The elevated road will connect Blok M to Antasari in South Jakarta, while the one over Casablanca will link Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta to Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta.
The city has budgeted Rp 1.28 trillion and Rp 737 billion ($144.3 million and $88.8 million), respectively, for the first phases of both projects.
The first phase of the Blok M-Antasari bypass will run 5.5 kilometers from Cipete Market to the National Police field.
The first phase of the Tanah Abang-Kampung Melayu route will run 3.5 kilometers from Casablanca to Jalan H. Kyai Mas Mansyur in Tanah Abang.