"The development of Kemaro Island (into a dream land) will destroy historical, social, and cultural (values), and threaten the continuation of ecology," executive director of the Walhi chapter, M.Hairul Sobri, said here on Wednesday.
The Palembang city administration has committed to turning Kemaro Island into a tourist destination, like the Jaya Ancol Dream Land in Jakarta.
To that end, the city government has cleared 25 hectares of land on the island and built several bungalows on it.
Construction work on the project, scheduled for completion in 2023, will cost an estimated Rp1.4 trillion.
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To secure the sizable amount of construction funds, the city government is teaming up with state-owned companies and encouraging investors to invest in the area.
The Walhi chapter has expressed the fear that the planned construction of the dream land will have an adverse impact on the life of the local people.
The other impact will be the reduction or disappearance of water catchment areas along the river basin, which will later trigger floods, it pointed out.
While calling for a halt to the project, the Walhi chapter has urged the city government to focus on developing the island into a tourist site which highlights its natural atmosphere.
The city government should pay attention to how to develop the existing potential in the activities of the local people so that it can offer new attractions, Sobri said.
Chief of the Palembang City Tourism Office, Isnaini Madani, had said earlier that the city government intended to develop the tourist site on the 30-hectare island to attract both domestic and foreign tourists.
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