Farmers, fishermen rally to oppose thermal power plant construction

Semarang, C Java (ANTARA News) - Tens of farmers and fishermen in Batang district, Central Java, demonstrated on Monday against a plan to build a thermal power plant (PLTU), which they said will affect their villages.

The tightly-guarded rally involving farmers and fishermen came together as the Association of Batang People Struggling for Conservation and took place outside the Central Java Provincial Legislative Assembly (DPRD) building on Pahlawan Street in the Central Java provincial capital Semarang.

The demonstrators carried nets, rice plants and posters reading "The Batang People Are Opposed To PLTU", "Reject PLTU for the Sake of Children and Grandchildren" and "Move the Location of PLTU."

In principle, the construction of PLTU was badly needed to meet rising demand for electrical power in Java, particularly Central Java, the head of the association, M Ali Tafrihan, said.

"Yet the plan to build the PLTU must continue to observe and meet the laws in force," he said.

The project is expected to affect Karanggeneng, Ujungnegoro, Ponowareng, and Roban villages in Kendeman subdistrict, Batang district, Central Java.

Tafrihan said the villages had fertile land and had also been known for its large fish catches.

Residents of the four villages primarily earn their livings as fishermen and farmers, he said.

In fact, Ujungnegoro and Roban villages have been declared marine tourist parks, Tafrihan noted.

"The project must be moved to another location. Don`t build it in our villages for fear that it will destroy the environment, reduce the fertility of the farm land, and damage the marine ecosystem," he said.

Some representatives of the demonstrators were later allowed to meet with local legislators to explain their positions.(*)

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