Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya has sliced off 42,150 hectares, equivalent to almost 60% the size of Singapore, of a pulpwood concession (PT ITCI Hutani Manunggal/IHM) controlled by Singapore-based pulp and paper giant APRIL to be used as lands for the building of Indonesia’s new capital city.
The APRIL company retains the right to harvest existing acacia trees until 2024 but is not allowed to carry out any replanting after it has harvested the concession’s acacia blocks.
This move underlines the seriousness of President Joko Widodo when it comes to relocating Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta to an area totalling more than 180 thousand hectares, nearly three times the size of the current capital, in the regencies of North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara in East Kalimantan province.
“I have reported this real progress to the President through an official letter (Oct 18) and also discussed it in person. The part of the PT ITCI concession to be used for the new capital does not consist of blocks that conflict with third parties,” Minister Nurbaya confirmed in a technical discussion at the ministry building (Oct 30).
“Other concessions that overlap with lands planned for the new capital will also be subject to similar action (as that done to PT ITCI),” she added.
The following photos, which show an example of an expanse of acacia plantation blocks in the PT ITCI concession, were taken in March 2018 when the ministry’s team conducted a field-based assessment. Part of this APRIL concession has been sliced off by Minister Nurbaya for the construction of Indonesia’s new capital.
Minister Nurbaya explained that her concrete action represented a follow-up to the President’s order aimed at ensuring that the land preparation process for the new capital continues to run according to a clear timeline.
Based on the document presented by the Indonesian forestry authorities, it is not only part of of the APRIL company concession that will be appropriated for the new capital. For example, part of the PT Inhutani I concession, amounting to fewer than 10 thousand hectares, will also be used for the President’s bold new capital plan.
In addition, there are four mining concessions which overlap with lands planned for the new capital, spanning over 3 thousand hectares. These will also be taken over by the government. The minister pointed out that the ground and legal processes for the preparation of the new capital’s lands were continuing in parallel and include the incorporation of environmental concerns.
“An integrated team which is currently hard at work will make sure that the lands concerned will be used in a green, or environmentally friendly, manner to avoid any future environmental problems,” she stressed.