The Balinese people and I could not as yet accept it. So, I apologize for that."
Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - Bali has rejected the central government`s plan to build a geothermal power plant in Bedugul, Tabanan, due to a religious reason.

The province`s governor, I Made Mangku Pastika said here on Sunday he would stick to his decision to reject the development of the plant.

"I think it is a local wisdom that we must uphold and until now my response (towards the plan) is still no," he said on the sidelines of inspection on the implementation of Bali Festival in Denpasar, the capital of the province.

Pastika said there are still other green sources such as water, solar energy and waves that could be exploited for it. "It may be more expensive but it also has a price," he said.

The governor said the main reason for his decision is that because mountains, forests, beaches, lakes and estuaries are holy areas.

"The Balinese people and I could not as yet accept it. So, I apologize for that," he said.

The ministry of energy and mineral resources has planned to build the plant and is awaiting for the governor`s approval.

"We will start it as soon as the governor agrees," energy minister Jero Wacik said after speaking at a meeting with Hindu leaders here on Friday (June 14).

Wacik said if the project is finished Bali will have an additional electricity supply of 150 to 200 megawatt.

Bali, which is the country`s most popular tourist destinations, at present needs around 600 megawatt and in the future the province would need up to 1,000 megawatt.

Various parties have expressed their rejection to the project located in the Batukaru wildlife preserve in the districts of Tabanan and Buleleng for fear it would cause environmental damages.

The Hindu Dharma Council of Indonesia (PHDI) has also asked the government not to go ahead with the plan saying that "mountains and forests are considered holy sites by Hindus. Moreover Bali is also a small island," PHDI`s central executive board chairman Ida Pedanda Ketut Sebali Tianyar Arimbawa.

Bali is mostly populated by Hindus.

(Reporting by Ni Luh Rhismawati/H-YH/B003)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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