WALHI Aceh Appreciates Revocation of Plantation License in Tripa
Banda Aceh – Almost a month after the decision of the Administrative High Court of Medan ordered the Governor of Aceh to revoke the Plantation Permit issued for PT Kalista Alam, the Government of Aceh has officially issued the Letter of Revocation of the controversial permit.
The Governor of Aceh has issued Decree No. 525/BP2T/5078/2012, dated September 27 2012 revoking Governor’s Permit No. 525/BP2T/5322/2011 to PT Kalista Alam for a Plantation covering 1,605 ha, located in Pulo Kruet village within the Sub-district of Darul Makmur, Nagan Raya District.
The Decree stated that the revocation was executed based on the Article 45A of the Law No. 5/2004 on the Amendment of the Law No. 14/1985 on the Supreme Court, which states that in an administrative lawsuit, which covers a decision of a regional official that applies within the official’s region of jurisdiction, is not eligible for appeal to the Supreme Court.
WALHI Aceh extends its appreciation to the Government of Aceh that has shown its compliance with the law. “The ruling of the Administrative High Court of Medan is clear, namely that the Governor had to revoke the permit of PT Kalista Alam covering 1,605 ha in Tripa Peat Swamp, so it had to be done. If not, the Government of Aceh would have been in violation of the law,” said the Executive Director of WALHI Aceh, T. Muhammad Zulfikar.
Tripa Peat Swamp is part of Leuser Ecosystem which has been designated as a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection, in the Law No. 26/2007 on Spatial Plan and in the Government Regulation No. 26/2008 on National Spatial Planning.
The withdrawal of the license sends a signal to ‘naughty’ entrepreneurs not to play around with the law and regulation in Aceh. “This is important for maintaining legal certainty in conducting business and in investing in Aceh, and thus benefits the common people” said T. Muhammad Zulfikar.
According to WALHI Aceh, there were several reasons to revoke the controversial plantation permit without the need for action in the courts. One of them is the failure of PT Kalista Alam to establish the required community-based “plasma” plantation in 30% of their total plantation area. Also, PT Kalista Alam has never submitted the required regular monthly report on the physical development of its plantation to the Government of Aceh, either to the relevant offices at district or provincial level.
WALHI Aceh believes that each and every plantation company that flouts existing laws and regulations must be firmly sanctioned. “It should not be necessary to have to resort to the courts for permits to be revoked. If companies do not comply with what is agreed and inflict losses for Aceh, they must be sanctioned,” he said.
According to WALHI’s records, other there are many other problem plantation companies besides PT Kalista Alam, with violations such as illicit land grabbing, conducting development operations prior to receiving a permit, failure to develop community plasma plantations, and clearing by burning.
WALHI Aceh requests the Government of Aceh to thoroughly and firmly evaluate all the companies in the Tripa Peat Swamps. “The results of these evaluations will determine the direction of future policy in this peatland, especially related to its environmental protection,” said T Muhammad Zulfikar.