Almost 500 companies receive sanctions for harming environment

Almost 500 companies receive sanctions for harming environment

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya. (ANTARA /M Agung Rajasa)

"I am very serious in ensuring and safeguarding the law enforcement against the violators, including big companies, so that there will be deterrent effect," Siti Nurbaya said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Government has imposed administrative and legal sanctions on nearly 500 companies found guilty of violating legal rules and regulations on environment and forestry over the past four years, a minister said.

Speaking from the holy city of Mecca on Wednesday, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said her ministry was so serious in securing the law enforcement against those harming the environment and forestry sector.

Siti Nurbaya, who is currently performing hajj in Saudi Arabia, said she kept following the latest development of the land and forest fires occurring in certain parts of Indonesia.

She also followed the verdict of the Palangkaraya District Court`s panel of judges, which met President Joko Widodo and other six parties` demands regarding the cases of land and forest fires in 2015.

Siti Nurbaya reiterated her commitment to safeguarding the law enforcement against individuals and companies responsible for and getting involved in the land and forest fires across the country.

"I am very serious in ensuring and safeguarding the law enforcement against the violators, including big companies, so that there will be deterrent effect," she said.

Despite the government`s serious efforts in imposing the legal sanctions, the land and forest fires still occur in certain parts of the country.

In South Kalimantan Province, at least 1,084 hectares of land had been engulfed by fire over the past several days though majority of the affected areas of land were reportedly barren and wetland.

The land and forest fires also occur in certain parts of Riau Province in Sumatra Island, including Rokan Hilir District and Dumai city.

The army personnel joining the Riau Forest and Land Firefighting Task Force recently caught red handed three local residents while burning a piece of land in Rokan Hilir District, a military officer said.

"The three suspected arsonists that we arrested yesterday have been handed over to the police," Commander of the Wirabima Military Resort Command Brig.Gen.Sonny Aprianto said early this week.

Aprianto did not elaborate the suspects` identity but said they were all local residents who had no connection with any company.

As part of his efforts to deal with the occurrence of the land and forest fire, Aprianto has issued a shoot-on-sight policy on those caught red handed while setting a piece of land on fire.

He, however, said he preferred handing over to the police to directly implementing the policy. "In handling the case, we have standard operational procedures. The shoot-on-sight policy will not be implemented as we like," Aprianto said.

President Joko Widodo had earlier asked the related authorities to do their best to ensure that the 18th Asian Games are not disrupted by the land and forest fires.

"As the host of the Asian Games, we must be able to ensure that the land and forest fires do not occur during the multi-sport event, so that our image and flights are not disrupted by the haze," he said at a coordination meeting for the Forest and Land Fire Mitigation in Jakarta last February.

Reporting by Sri Muryono
Editing by Rahmad Nasution, Sri Haryati

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