Ministry requests detailed explanation of APRIL’s claim of 'unauthorized activity'
JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - After having its permit suspended as an administrative sanction for its concession’s involvement in last year’s peat fires and resulting haze, PT SRL, one of APRIL’s major suppliers, was supposed to terminate all its field operations, including harvesting in acacia-planted blocks.
However, despite the suspension of the permit, harvesting in the concession’s acacia-planted blocks continued. These operations, according to APRIL, constituted 'unauthorized activity', and were reported by PT SRL to the police.
“We will be sending a letter to PT SRL requesting a detailed explanation of what is meant by 'unauthorized activity', including an explanation about certain developments stemming from its report to the police,” said Bambang Hendroyono, Secretary General at the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Friday (Apr 29).
Bambang explained that his ministry had received a report on alleged violations committed by the APRIL supplier on 31 March, 2016 from Greenomics Indonesia, by which time the concession permit suspension had been revoked.
“The permit suspension was revoked largely on the basis of an affidavit from PT SRL stating that it did not conduct any operations while the suspension was in force. This was based on an official report from the beginning of March 2016. This needs to be emphasized.”
He went on to say that his ministry had performed an analysis of land cover changes in acacia-planted blocks in the suspended concession concerned. According to Bambang, the analysis concluded that from January - March 2016, as many as 350 hectares of acacia-planted blocks - the equivalent of about 350 football pitches - had indeed been harvested.
“If it is being claimed that this harvesting represented 'unauthorized activity', we certainly require a more detailed explanation as this involves issues of legality,” he said.
Bambang reaffirmed that his ministry has been aiming to improve the discipline of companies in their field operations, particularly when it comes to fulfilling their obligations with respect to handling land and forest fires, both in their concessions and in the vicinity of their concessions.
“This is not about their commitment to sustainability. They are legally required to do this which means they must make ground-level efforts. This year, we have to prove that we are able to prevent the yearly haze disaster from happening, especially to the extent of 2015,” Bambang added.