Elevated roads ‘illegal’, coalition to sue city govt

A coalition of NGOs is threatening to sue the city government for what it deems is an illegal construction of elevated roads in Central and South Jakarta.

Civil Society Coalition to Save Jakarta members said Monday that constructing the elevated roads was violating the present spatial planning bylaw.

“The 1999 bylaw, which currently regulates the city’s spatial planning, makes no mention on elevated roads. The roads might have been planned under the new bylaw on spatial planning, but it has not yet been approved,” said Irvan Pulungan, a member of the coalition and researcher from the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).

Irvan also said that the city government had failed to conduct a regional strategic environmental assessment (KLHS) and provide the environmental impact analysis (Amdal) document, as mandated by the 2009 Environment Protection and Management and 1999 Amdal laws.

“Therefore, there is no guarantee that the construction will not cause environmental damage or whether efforts have been made to prevent this type of damage,” Irvan said.

The construction work for the elevated roads, which will connect Jl. Pangeran Antasari and Blok M in South Jakarta, and Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta to Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta, started in January and is expected to finish in two years.

The Rp 2.2 trillion (US$250.8 million) roads will straddle a number of areas, which are already known for traffic congestion.

The areas have seen worsening congestion since construction began, with businesses complaining they are losing revenue.

The Antasari-Blok M elevated road will be 4.8 kilometers long and will straddle Jl. Pangeran Antasari, Jl. Prapanca Raya, Jl. Sultan Iskandarsyah and Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin — all in South Jakarta.

The Kampung Melayu-Tanah Abang road will add a 2.3-kilometer strip to the section above Jl. Casablanca and Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio in South Jakarta, and Jl. K.H. Mas Mansyur in Central Jakarta.

Ahmad Safrudin, an environmental activist of the Leaded Gasoline Eradication Committee, said that the city administration had made an irrational move by building the roads.

“Elevated roads mainly facilitate car and motorcycles owners, groups who make the least amount of trips in the city,” Safrudin said.

According to the City-sanctioned Inner City Toll Road feasibility study in 2005, around 67 percent of the trips in the city were made by public transportation.

Agus Pambagio, a member of the Indonesia Transportation Society, said, however, that the coalition would not stand in the way of the construction project.

“After all, the work has already begun. What we want is the city to conduct an environmental impact analysis regarding the project and later, after a public discussion, we want it to revert damage to the environment that has been caused by the project,” Agus said.

Agus also said that the city government had not provided information to the public prior to construction.

“We hope that the administration is willing to listen to the people. But if the city government resists, we have no other option but to file a lawsuit on the city,” Agus said.

Separately on Monday, Novizal, the Public Works Agency’s head of the Bridge Division, claimed that the city government had abided by regulations.

“What we are doing now is legal. We have submitted an Amdal, and the city’s environmental management agency has also issued a KLHS for the project,” Novizal said.

“If there are any parties who want to file a lawsuit against us, go ahead, but this project is perfectly legal,” he said. – See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/15/elevated-roads-%E2%80%98illegal%E2%80%99-coalition-sue-city-govt.html#sthash.YpCUgomG.dpuf