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A Demolition Derby?

Provincial and Regional Officials in Bali Continue to Argue the Legality of Villas and Hotels Built Within 6 Kilometers of Ulawatu Temple.

Bali News:
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The outcome of a very public ongoing tug of war between Bali's Governor, Made Beratha, and the Regent of the Badung, AA Gde Agung, will determine the fate of a large number of villas and small hotels standing within a 5 km radius of Bali’s sacred Temple of Uluwatu.

Bali's Governor recently declared that buildings standing with a legislated 5 kilometer “no build zone” must be demolished, with owners facing a threat of both fines and jail time. [See: Crackdown on Construction Near Uluwatu]

Bali's Hindu Leaders Speak Out

Tempo Interaktif quoting the Chairman of Council of Hindu Affairs (PHDI), Ngurah Sudiana Msi as declaring that villas, hotels and tourism sites violating the 5 kilometer radius violate religious guidelines established in 1992 that specifically disallow construction within5 km of a Pura Khayangan Jagat (public temple). "This means within this radius there can be no building not connected with the needs of the temple itself," explained Sudiana. The religious guidelines set in 1992 were eventually written into law by the Province of Bal in 2005, by providing for fines of Rp. 50 million (US$5,435) and 6 months imprisonment for those found violating the law.

The PHDI has called for the demolition of offending buildings near Uluwatu which, according to Tempo include the Puri Bali about one km away from the Temple and Blue Point Villa located 1.5 km away.

Regency officials, including the Chief of Tourism for Badung, Made Sumbawa, is insistent that the villas do not violate the 2005 law, with their construction predating that legislation.

The Plot Thickens

The Chairman of a Special Committee of the 2005 zoning law, Wayan Sudiana, who is also the Secretary of Commission B of the Regional Parliament, told Tempo that the permits issued by the Badung Government to villa and hotel investors within the "no-build" exceeded the legal authority provided in the 1995 law which did not permit permits to e issued with a validity beyond 2005.

While the Governor and Hindu religious groups are calling for demolition of the offending building, Regional officials such as the Badung Tourism Chief, I Made Subawa, who apparently condones the buildings, are calling for compromise; suggesting that steps short of demolition are possible.

Subawa told the press that the 5 km radius is divided into several sub-rings: 0-1 km; 1- 2 km; and a final ring of between 2-5 km. Subawa claims that if the 5 km ring ruling is strictly enforced a large number of local Balinese will also end up being dmeolished.

Who Will Enforce the Rules?

The debate has now moved to who is empowered to enforce local building laws? While the Governor insists that "his" provincial rules outlawing the building represents the supreme law, he also claims that enforcement is a matter to be handled wholly by the Badung Regency. With Badung officials reluctant to accept the view that they were wrong in issuing the original permits for the illegal buildings, they have little appetite to enforce provincial rules.

The Conclusion: This is a debate that will wind on for the indefinite future.

Related Editorial

[Editorial: Cry, the Beloved Island]

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