This is an article of july 17 this year:
Govt urged to halt road project
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) reiterated their demand on Tuesday for the government to cancel the controversial Ladia Galaska road project in Aceh due to its
adverse impact on the environment.
"We made the appeal once again amid reports that three ministries had agreed to proceed with the project," Indro Cahyono, director of the Workers Union for the Conservation of Indonesian Forests (Skephi), was quoted by Antara as saying,
following a meeting with State Minister of the Environment Rachmat Witoelar.
The government decided two weeks ago to resume the construction of the 470-kilometer Ladia Galaska highway, but will create a new route that will not cut through the pristine, protected forest and conservation areas. The decision was reached during a meeting between Minister of Public Works Djoko Kirmanto, Minister of Forestry M.S. Kaban and State Minister of the Environment.
According to the new plan, the project will not go through the 45-kilometer section connecting Pinding and Lokop, located in the
middle of the Leuser Ecosystem, as originally planned.
As an alternative, they will construct a road connecting Peurelak.
The government has maintained that the Ladia Galaska highway, which will link the west and east coasts of the province, is expected to stimulate economic activity in the province's western coastal areas.
But environmentalists in Indonesia and abroad have been concerned about the adverse effects of the project, which was started in 2002, cut through a large swathe of the delicate Leuser Ecosystem.
They also doubted the economic benefits of the project as it would only pass through villages a with limited number of people.
The NGOs also said on Tuesday that the resumption of the project would open the way for people to illegally cut down timber in the protected forest areas and hunt down protected
orangutans as well as other species.
"After the tsunami, there will be another environmental disaster (if the project is continued). So we appeal to the State Minister of the Environment to halt the project," Indro
The activists had also launched an international campaign to put pressure on the Indonesian government to abandon the project,
calling on foreign donors to stop the disbursement of funds for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Aceh until the government improved on its commitment to protect the environment.
Meanwhile, Greg McDonald of the Sumatra Orangutan Society claimed that the organization had collected signatures from approximately 80,000 people from 40 countries, appealing to the
government to drop the project.
He added that the organization had also sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with a similar plea.
"We hope the President realizes that the Ladia Galaska project has become an international issue," he said, describing the project as a vandalism against the environment.
lets hope this current president is wiser then his predecessor.