Following a barrage of criticism by the Bali Friends of the Earth (WALHI) alleging violations of the initial environmental impact study done by PT Jasa Marga Toll (JDP) for the Benoa to Nusa Dua elevated highway, the roadway’s developers have finally responded via press comments by the developer’s spokesman.
As reported by Radar Bali, PT Jasa Marga's spokesman Drajad H. Suseno said complaints made against his employers by Suryanta Putra of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) and WALHI-Bali were largely all noise, signifying little.
Drajad said that the work on the elevated highway project is not violating any regulations or contracting the original environmental impact study performed before construction was commenced.
The Jasa Marga Toll spokesman accused those protesting the way the project is being constructed as failing to carefully read the environmental impact study prepared by academics from Bali's Udayana University appointed by Bali’s governor Made Pastika. Continuing, Drajad said that the excavation of the mangrove cited by protestors was contemplated in the original plans for the highway, a fact, he says, protestors refuse to acknowledge.
Drajad went on to explain that the original plans for the highway provided for excavation along 23% of the total 10 kilometers covered by the highway. Excavation would take place in areas too shallow for use of a floating construction pontoon.
Continuing, Drajad said not only would the excavation of access roads across the mangrove be limited, but also once the construction is completed the excavated roadways would be removed and the mangrove basin returned to its original state.
Obviously frustrated by the numerous criticisms of the project’s environmental record in the local press, Drajad said: “It’s not that we’re opposed to criticism, but we want accurate comments. Don’t play politics using ulterior motives to achieve ‘certain’ results. Politics only interferes in out work.”
Separately, the deputy director of WALHI, Suryadi, confirmed that he had the complete environmental studies for the roadway project. That study, he said, provided for "minimum excavation" of the mangrove forest.
Suryadi denies that the 23% excavation ratio was listed in the original plan. DPRD member Suryatna Putra also claimed that the original plans provided for excavation at access points. Suryatna also pointed to the Bali Environmental Agency (BLH) who are also contending that the environmental impact study for the road is being ignored.
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