Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lengkese, after the landslide

Lengkese is one village which suffered from a devastated landslide from Bawakaraeng Mountain. The volume of landslide is estimated 193 million meter cubic. It was happen on Friday around 1:30 pm. There were 32 villagers dead and several houses and a school buried in this disaster. It was around 120 hectares of rice fields and hundred hectares of coffee plantation area were buried in this disaster..

After the disaster, the society had discussion and had a deal to one particular place to remove. Then the government was also agreed to remove them to the place where they want. Unfortunately, one month after, the government came to them and offered one new place to move in, but then it divided the Lengkese villagers in two different sides. Half of them still want to live in Lengkese, and the rest of them were agreed to follow the governments’ willingness. The government promised them housing, 2 hectares land with land ownership certificate and also one year life guarantee if the villagers wanted to move to the new place that the government offered. It created friction among the villagers. To force the villagers went out of the village, PLN (electricity state company) was cut off the electricity for this village for the security reason. PLN reasoned that this place was still dangerous to live in therefore they didn’t want to connect electricity to Lengkese. Due the government pressure and also the blackout from PLN, some villagers decided to be reallocated.
After two years, the villagers who decided to stay in Lengkese applied many times to PLN to get the electricity again, but it seems that PLN was still afraid to connect permanent electricity in Lengkese still because of the security reason. But, the current condition is there has already been temporary electricity for Lengkese, but not yet permanent. Sometimes they have electricy for few days and then experienced black out for few days also. And PLN provides this for free. Instead of that, many villagers who have been reallocated return back again to Lengkese due to several reasons:
1.The government did not really provide them land with ownership certificate and also 1 year subsidy for their daily lives (as what the government promised).
2.The soil condition in their reallocation place is barren; therefore it is not suit for agriculture.
3.Many of the farmers who have been reallocated still have rice fields and also orchard area in Lengkese.
The villagers also stated that they got training for disaster management from one NGO named Karaeng Puang. Unlike the government, this NGO do not force the villagers to remove from Lengkese after the disaster occurred. They suggested the farmers to keep living if they want to live and started doing their normal activity. This NGO concerns on environment. There were more than 60 villagers attended the training, it was not only attended by men but also women. During the training, the villagers stated that they got many lesson including the using of telescope and compass in order to monitor the possibility of landslide disaster surrounding them. There’s one place in Lengkese used for monitoring the situation there. Not only that, the villagers also assisted by Karaeng Puang NGO to make 2D map and 3D map of their area. Surprisingly, the villagers are really able to demonstrate the use of compass as well as map. The other lesson is how to do evacuation incase the landslide again attack Lengkese. So how does the mechanism of monitoring the location? If some villagers want to bring their cows for grassing, they could bring also the telescope and compass to investigate surround area. Then if they found cracks on the mountain, they must tell it to other villagers then discuss next things to do. This monitoring seems like rotation or cycling job among all the villagers.
Lengkese villagers still heard issue that the government still has intention to remove them from this area, but after seeing that many of their friends who had been reallocated to the new place are unsatisfied with their new place, the rest of villager feel doubt about the reallocation plan from government.
Another issue which occurred is the government doesn’t process the tax letters (SPPT) for the buried farmland because the government wants to use this area for protected forest means that this area will be forbidden area for economic purposes. Again the villagers have several choices if the government tends to do this:
1.The villagers are disagreeing if the buried farmland becomes protected forest (hutan lindung) because this particular area is their heritage from their parents. They claimed that it’s their land. They could be agreeing if the government intend to make production forest (hutan produksi) therefore they could plant coffee and markisa with Gamal trees.
2.If the government could prepare financial compensation if they reallocated, the possibility is opened for the villagers to remove as long as the compensation suits for the villagers

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