Indonesians take ‘concrete stand’ against cement plant

AL JAZEERA

Farmers in Indonesia are resorting to extreme measures of protest to show the government how the construction of a cement factory will paralyse their lives.

Sticking their feet in cement and thus unable to move for days, the women behind the rallies are called the Kartinis of Kendeng – named after Indonesia’s most famous female fighter for women’s rights, Raden Adjeng Kartini.

The women say that cement factories built in the Karst Mountains in central Java will ruin their land and pollute their water-supply and irrigation systems.

“I will fight to my last drop of blood because our ancestors fought for this land for hundreds of years, and that’s why we now can enjoy the water and the fruits from this land,” Sukinah, a protest leader, said.

“We won’t allow it to disappear like that.”

Women say cement factories built in Karst Mountains will ruin their land [Bagus Indahono/EPA]

Kendeng Mountain is a part of the Karst Mountains that contains not only springs and underground rivers but also chalk that is used in the production of cement.

While smaller companies have been mining here for years, now larger ones are coming.

But the legal battle is ongoing.

READ MORE: Indonesian tribes rally for land rights

One factory was due to start production last November, until the Supreme Court revoked its permit, saying the company’s environmental programme was unclear.

The state governor re-issued the permit after PT Semen Indonesia nearly halved the area it planned to mine.

Environmental groups say the permit goes against the Supreme Court decision.

Then Indonesian President Joko Widodo intervened in the dispute and ordered a new environmental assessment.

Cement companies say factories will help develop impoverished region [Beawiharta/Reuters]

While the women fight to protect their land, the cement companies insist factories will help develop the impoverished region.

“At the national level, the mine and factory will help maintain Indonesia’s development and the demand for cement can be fulfilled,” said Heru Indra Wijayanto, project manager.

But while the company promises the factory will provide work for nearly 2,000 people, the farmers say their land can provide an income to many more.

“What we want to show is that Indonesia is being shackled by cement and by the industry,” said Gunretno, an activist.

“Indonesia is an agrarian nation, what needs to be done is to develop farm land.”

Java’s Kendeng Mountain contains springs, underground rivers and chalk [Beawiharta/Reuters]

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This entry was posted in Ô nhiễm - Pollution, Indonesia, Môi trường - Environment and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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