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Image: An overview of the contentious site. Credit: Google Earth

The Ngurah Rai Airport extension continues even though PT Angkasa Pura I still doesn’t have the reclamation permit, which is now beginning to receive attention from a local NGO group.

The head of Bali Environmental Forum (Walhi), Suardi Darmoko, said on Sunday that they wanted PT Angkasa Pura I to stop the reclamation of the 53.7 hectare extension.

“We know that they do not have a permit for the reclamation. We want them to stop the airport reclamation project right now,” Suardi said.

Darmoko said that he was surprised when he was informed that there were activities to start the reclamation on the west side of the airport. He said that the project, which has a Rp 2.2 trillion budget, should not continue because it did not have any permits, which was revealed at an Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL) discussion recently. “We want it to be stopped because it violates the law. If the AMDAL discussion was carried out without there being a location permit, that too can be considered to be a violation of the law,” he said to

The Wahli Bali chief said that according to President Instruction Number 122/102 about Reclamation on Coastal Areas and Small Islands, the government, regional government, and every person involved in any reclamation must have location and implementation permits.

For this reason Darmoko said that Walhi Bali asked that the reclamation plan be stopped. He also said that the location permit can only be granted as long as it complied with the Coastal Areas and Small Islands Zoning Plan (RZWP-3-K). It was ruled in Article 17 paragraph 1 of Law Number 1/2014 about the Revision of Law Number 27/2007 about the Coastal Areas and Small Islands Management, which said that the location permit can be granted based on coastal areas and small islands zoning plan, and must be followed by a regional law, as mentioned in Article 9 paragraph 5 of Law Number 27/2007.

Until now, Bali Province did not comply with the RZWP-3-K regional law and because of that, the location permit cannot be issued. Coastal areas utilization using reclamation cannot be implemented, because it violated the applicable laws.

“The reclamation on Ngurah Rai Airport is also bad for the environment. It causes cultural and state losses,” he said. Culturally, for example, it will mean the disappearance of Cedok Waru Temple on Segara Beach, Kuta which was moved three times for the Ngurah Rai runway construction. For the state losses, the government had to provide a budget to make the Bali Beach Conservation Project during 2003-2007. “So, I hope they won’t force something that will cause losses to many people,” he said.

In response, Head of Public Relations at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, Arie Ahsannurohim, told Tribune Bali they respect the protests from Walhi Bali .

According to him, the AMDAL meeting was an event held by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KKP).

In the meeting, he said, the AMDAL discussion was not completed because the parties should pay attention to suggestions, opinions, and public responses.

“Currently in addition to AMDAL improvements, Angkasa Pura I in parallel is still taking care of the process of all permissions,” said Arie, Friday (23/3/2018).

Angkasa Pura I realized the plan to widen the western apron by reclamation was not going ahead as fast as imagined.

Moreover, until now, Bali does not have a regulation on Coastal and Small Islands Zoning Plan (RZWP3K). Thus, added Arie, the licensing process at the KKP also cannot be completed if the Governor of Bali has not issued a technical recommendation.

“It needs to be understood, because this is an acceleration for the IMF meeting, which we can do first, but in the end, we also do not want to leave any regulation out just for the acceleration,” he said.

In relation to the IMF meeting, Walhi Bali has seen it as a mode for development accelerations, which have a tendency for legal breaches.

“They use the pretext of the IMF meeting and discuss the AMDAL reclamation, but the permit does not exist yet. If every international meeting is creating continuous development, what about the capacity of Bali Island? Can this island take it?” Darmoko asked.

Separately, the Governor of Bali, Made Mangku Pastika, said that the development and expansion of Ngurah Rai Airport is difficult. The Bali provincial government will not necessarily give the recommendations required.

“It is not that easy because there is not enough land and it will have to be reclaimed,” Pastika said after attending a plenary session with the DPRD of Bali on Thursday (22/3).

The first stage only widens the apron and so there isn’t a problem with that because the land already exists and belongs to Angkasa Pura I. But once it enters the second and third stages to extend the runway, then according to Pastika, it will be related to the sea around the airport. “The first stage, go ahead, please widen in the existing area,” he said.