Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Govt to rescind environmental awards from Riau local tribe

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 09/02/2009

The Environment Ministry has decided to withdraw the Kalpataru environmental awards from a local tribe in Riau province as the tribe decided to build an access road across a forest they have been preserving.

Kampar regent Burhanuddin Husein told Antara news agency that he was informed by the Environment Ministry that the Kalpataru awards given to Nini Mamak Negeri Enam Tanjung Desa Buluh Cina would be withdrawn.

"We received these Kalpataru awards from the central government with pride, but now, the awards will be withdrawn. It's sad," he said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono presented the Kalpataru awards to Datuk Dahlan Mojolelo on June 5, 2009 for the success of Nini Mamak Negeri Enam Tanjung Desa Buluh Cina in preserving 1,000 hectares of natural forests.

However, after receiving the awards, the Nini Mamak Negeri Sembilan made an agreement with other local villagers to build an access road cutting their preserved forests.

Datuk Dahlan Mojolelo said that he would return the awards, but said that Nini Mamak would continue to preserve the forests even after the access road is opened.

Meanwhile, Tengku Arifin Amri, a director of Rona Lingkungan at Riau University, said that the withdrawal of the awards is the logical consequence of the Nini Mamak’s decision to build the access road across the forests.

Unless the recipient stays committed to protecting the environment, the awards should be withdrawn, he said.