JAKARTA:Papuan tribal leaders and students from Greater Jakarta urged thegovernment on Tuesday to revoke forest concessions given to dozens ofcompaniesthat have failed to preserve the environment.
Theyargued that a lack of government control has caused illegal logging andforest fires to increase in the country’s easternmost province.Theyvoiced their demands during a peaceful rally at the lobby of the Houseof Representatives (DPR) on Tuesday.
Theprotesters specifically demanded that Forestry Minister M. Prakosa investigatelogging activities by 12 subsidiaries of Djajanti Group and PTArtikaOptima Inti in Nabire. Theyalso demanded that the provincial and regent administrations be givenmore authority to manage forestry activities in the province to ensurethat local people benefited from their forests.
Somenon-governmental organizations (NGOs) have alleged, however, that illegallogging has increased in the province since the province was grantedthe status of special autonomy in 2001, as local administrations havehurried to raise revenue.