Sako Suban villagers oppose coal road inside South Sumatra forest

Sako Suban villagers oppose coal road inside South Sumatra forest

Palembang, South Sumatra (ANTARA) - Villagers of Sako Suban, Musi Banyuasin, South Sumatra, urged the environmental affairs and forestry ministry to review a license granted to PT Marga Baya Jaya coal company for building a road inside a forest area.

The residents of Sako Suban are restive over a plan to construct a road inside a forest area for transporting coal cargo, Leko Noprinata, a spokesman of the local villagers, stated here on Monday.

Noprinata claimed that conversion of part of the forest area to make way for a coal road would disrupt the local villagers' livelihood in utilizing the forest’s natural resources.

The ministry had issued Ministerial Decrees No: K.816/Menlhk/Setjen/PLA.0/10/2019 dated October 17, 2019, and SK.5663/MENLHK-PKTL/REN/PLA.0/10/2020 dated October 11, 2020, respectively on a license to utilize forest areas to construct roads to carry coal and on a license regarding partial conversion of the forest area.

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The villagers of Sako Suban have voiced their objection to the plan to construct a road, stretching 92 kilometers in length and 60 meters in width, inside the natural forest area, Noprinata remarked.

The spokesman claims that conversion of the forest area to build a road will fuel illegal logging activities, forest encroachment, and forest fires.

The lowland forest area in Sako Suban is also home to the indigenous tribes of Kubu and Anak Dalam Batin Sembilan, Noprinata stated.

On account of the dire impacts of the lowland forest area conversation for building the coal road, the local people have pressed for reviewing the road construction plan.

The villagers represented by Formaphasi, the Community Forum for Saving South Sumatra and Jambi Forest, sent a letter to Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister Sti Nurbaya Bakar to look for another area for building a road to carry the coal produced by PT Marga Bara Jaya.

They put forth a suggestion that a road be constructed near residential areas, so the villages could also derive benefits from it.  Related news: Environment Ministry launches 2021 National Waste Awareness Festival