By Linda Salim, for SeafoodSource from Surabaya, Indonesia
Published on 19 February, 2008
Residents in Lampungâ??s Tulangbawang village and its subdistricts have reported a private shrimp-farming company is terrorizing them to give up their lands. The report resulted in a brief meeting with Lampungâ??s governor and legislative council last week.
During the meeting, legislative members decided to provide the locals with temporary military protection until the conflict is resolved.
The alleged threats have taken forms of terrorizing visits from gang members as well as local policemen. Some houses in the Kerawang subdistrict are said to have been surrounded by a freshly dug canal that prevented them from leaving the community. In addition, some village assets like the mosque and its public school are believed to have been demolished.
Makruf, the village spokesperson, reported that 450 households have released their land to the shrimp farming company as a result of the threats and only 150 families remain. The terror is also ongoing for the neighboring villagers, who insist on keeping their land, added Makruf.
PT Central Pertiwi Bahari, a subsidiary of Thai shrimp giant Charoen Pokphand, which exports product to the United States, Europe and Japan and employs more than 5,000 non-local skilled workers in Lampung, is the suspected company behind the threats.
However, the company denied involvement in the activities, although its representative, Taufik Slamet, claims the village land belongs to the company. He also reported that the company had requested villagers to evacuate the land with a compensation of more than US$400 per hectare.
PT Central Pertiwi Bahari plans to reclaim its 16,200 hectares for expansion, 600 of which are inhabited. Some of the companyâ??s land used to be a protected forest, originally owned by PT Dipasena Citra Darmaja.
Responding to the companyâ??s claim, Chief of the Lampung Forestry Office, Arinal Junaidi, clarified that the 600 hectares occupied was not on the companyâ??s land title that was issued in May 2007, after the company and the local land registry measured the borders.