As reported on balidiscovery.com, recently surfaced plans to build a major golf resort complex on the flanks of Bali's sacred Mount Agung have met with strong opposition from traditional villagers, determined to stop the proposed 100 hectare project at any cost [See: Protests Mount Against Proposed Golf Course in Bali's North].
Following our initial report, the project has become front page news on all major dailies in Bali.
New developments over the past week include:
• Despite initial denials, the Regent of Karangasem, Wayan Geredeg finally admitted to the Bali Post that he had issued a "principal permission" (izin prinsip) to the developers, suggesting he perhaps forgotten these permits when claiming the gold course was "only an idea." The admission regarding his original issuance of the "izin prinsip" happened after a meeting with the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD) where legislators presented the Regent with a copy of the permit (No. 503/419 Disbudpar dated March 1, 2007) issued by his office.
• The permit was issued to a company named PT Nusantara Agung in the name of its director Hermawan Tjahjana at an address in Denpasar, Bali.
• Local press reports state that the address of the company listed on the project permit is an empty office in downtown Denpasar, guarded only by a watchman. While the identity and details of Hermawan Tjahjana remain largely a mystery.
• The Bali Post also reports that the issuance of the Regent's permit were preceded by supporting letters dated February 21, 2007, issued by the villages of Rendang and Tegenan, both occupying areas included in the proposed 100 hectare site. This was followed by a recommendation letter dated February 22, 20007, issued by the Sub-district chief of Rendang.
• The Chairman of the Bali Planning Board (BAPEDA), Drs. Made Adijaya, and the Provincial Secretary (SEKDA), Drs. Nyoman Yasa, told the Bali Post before meeting with Bali's Governor that the prohibition of such a development on the flanks of Mt. Agung near the Besakih Temple was absolute and not allowed under current regulations.
• Four members of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD) met with Karangasem's Regent warning him that he "was digging a hole of himself" if he persists in supporting the proposed golf project.
• Bali's Governor, Dewa Made Beratha, has now joined the debate saying that if the proposed golf complex is refused by the people, he supports that refusal and respects the publics aspirations to preserve the areas surrounding the Besakih Temple.
• On Wednesday, August 8, 2007, student groups and local NGOs called on Regent Geredeg to revoke the izin prinsip he issued for the project.
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