Communities in conflict with Sinar Mas’ Subsidiaries Met The Top Officials of Golden AgriResources

The development of pt. Kresna Duta Agroindo (PT. KDA) oil plantation was built through Primary Credit Cooperative for its Member (KKPA) scheme in Batu Ampar. Tiga Serumpun cooperative has submitted a letter to the head of Sarolangun district dated 2 December 2000 No.01/Kop-TS/XI/2000. The letter demanded the Location Permit of ± 2000 Ha in Lindung village, Karang Mendapo, Batu Ampar, Ladang Panjang, Pengindaran and Kasang. The mentioned villages we located in Sorolangun and Pauh sub-district, Sarolangun district. The location permit was addressed to the development of oil palm plantation with KPPA partnership scheme. In 2000, the head of Sarolangun sub-district published the Location Permit for the establishment of oil palm plantation with KKPA scheme, through Decree No. 176/2000.

Along the way, the community of Batu Ampar has faced several problems due to the existence of PT. KDA oil palm plantation. The absence of transparency by PT. KDA has also led into a horizontal conflict between Batu Ampar and Karang Mendapo village. On 18 May 2007, the village officials of Karang Mendapo sent the letter to the Sarolangun Regent: No. 236/BTA/2007. In the letter by the village official of Karang Mendapo, it was claimed that the land harvesting in the Division I area of

695 ha must be terminated. Meanwhile the actual land of Batu Ampar was 249.77 Ha.

The lack and weakness of community organization have been used by PT. KDA to benefit from Autonomy Venture Unit as part of Tiga Serumpun Cooperative. This conflict appeared because Tiga Serumpun Cooperative has failed to deliver the community’s rights. This led to the un-clarity of the production division. Since 2008 until today, the community of Batu Ampar has not yet received the result of the harvested oil palm fruits. From these issues, we can see that the existing problems between the Karang Mendapo and Batu Ampar are caused by PT. KDA.  The actual conflicts occurred between the community of Batu Ampar with PT. KDA. Therefore, the conflict is not merely between Karang Mendapo with Batu Ampar, but it is the conflict between Karang Mendapo and PT. KDA. PT. KDA also failed to show responsibility reports of the money from Permata Bank as credit.

On the second day of RT 10 Sri Damayanti (the village head of Batu Ampar) finally met the staff as well as Commissioner of Golden Agri Resources. In this meeting, Sri Damayanti addressed her grievances and demands. The demands are:

–  For the company to return back the land to the community of Batu Ampar.

–  For the company to convert the land with the decent oil palm plants

–  For the company and the cooperative to be transparent with the processes related taken to the credit

–  For the company to compensate the loss endured by Batu Ampar community

In this meeting the company promised that they would follow up the grievances of Batu Ampar community. To resolve the problems in near future, the company promised that they would facilitate a meeting between the Batu Ampar representatives and the management in Jakarta in November 2012.

Beside Batu Ampar conflict, the meeting also facilitates the community of Silat Hulu, represented by the head of hamlet, Ritung. He also addressed his grievances regarding the conflict between his village and PT. Bangun Nusa Mandiri (subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group). Since the company operated in the areas which surround Silat Hulu, this particular hamlet also received the negative impacts. Their land was being cleared by the company without the community’s consent. When the community

held efforts to keep their land, two community members were criminalized. Even though the article

21 and 47 of Plantations Acts no. 18 2004 has been revoked, the community is still facing problems with PT. BNM.

From the community grievances, the company promised they would invite the community for a follow up this meeting. The community requested that the meeting shall not involve the management of PT. BNM, since they have already lost their trust towards them. Sinar Mas Group will be the one who will facilitate the meeting.

In addition to the two conflicts, a lawyer of Public Interest Lawyers Network, who joined the

meeting, also mentioned the violence which has occurred for the past four years in many plantations belong to Sinar Mas Group’s subsidiaries. As a public lawyer, Wahyu Wagiman has been dealing with many victims of violence occurred in Sinar Mas plantations for the past four years. The current one is the shooting towards a child, Gusmanto, in PT. SMART’s concession in Padang Halaban, North Sumatera. He highlighted that the company urgently needs a monitoring system to prevent such violence from happening. The company mentioned that they would follow up on this.

For further information please contact: Jefri Saragih:  jefri@sawitwatch.or.id / +6281320062233

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