Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Sungai Guntung Villagers Demand TSM Company Build Palm Oil Plantation


Palm oil plantationPalm oil plantation - The people of Sungai Guntung Village, Rengat Sub-District, Indragiri Hulu  District, Riau Province, felt as though they were tricked by plantation  company Tani Subur Makmur (TSM) which operated in that area.

The villagers thought they were fooled by their agreement with the  company about palm oil plantation. That agreement had been made years  ago. 12 years had passed since the building of the farm started but the  villagers still have not gotten any result from it.

Joni, one of the villagers told the situation of the problem to The  Ministry of Law and Human Rights (Kemenkumham), in one of its office in Riau Province, Pekanbaru, on Thursday, March 1 2018.

The conflict between the villagers and the company was very complicated. It all started when there was cooperation between TSM company and the  villagers through Al Barokah cooperative. In this case, the company would  manage the land owned by the villagers using primary cooperative credit  member system. That agreement was signed by 900 heads of the family there. However, ever since the agreement, the villagers still have not  gotten any result.

“The agreement is no longer transparent. There are a lot of odd things  regarding the cooperation. It all leads to a violation of the initial  agreement,” Joni said.

The agreement said that the company would build palm oil plantation on 4  hectare land in the village. Al Barokah cooperative was then chosen as  the village representative. The agreement also included profit sharing  system for the villagers represented by Al Barokah. But the odd thing  was, although they owned the land, the villagers were not given  membership cards of the cooperative.

Later, it was revealed that the company could only build the plantation  on 2,7 hectare, less than what was initially agreed on. But nothing was  revealed about the rest. They claimed that it was because they had no  permit for land disposal.

The agreement with the company was also not transparent since it was  signed in 2013 to this date. Since the plantation which began in 2009 to  2016, the villagers only received 35 thousand Rupiah from it.

“There was a fraud and no transparency regarding the agreement, the  result of the plantation and the credit the villagers had to pay. We  don’t know what happened, but we only received 35 thousands to this day,” Joni explained.


The villagers had tried to solve it. “We had sent letters to Inhu regent  and even to the police to find the best solution. But the result is still  zero. We did mass protest in 2016. It led to mediation but nothing was  solved.”

Joni also said that 900 families in Sungai Guntung village were mostly  poor people. They had no money to hire a lawyer. “We don’t even have  money to eat. Most of the villagers are poor people. In this condition we  need a miracle to solve this problem,” Joni added.

After all these years having to go through it, they finally found a way  to justice. Joni and 3 other villagers came down to Pekanbaru to go to  Kemenkumham, hoping to get some help.

“We had reported our problem to the Ministry, hoping to find a solution.  Although the result is not what we expected, we at least have some help  of hiring a lawyer for free under the Ministry so we can solve the  problem.”

Meanwhile, TSM company still cannot be contacted to be interviewed  regarding its conflict with the villagers.**



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