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Bali Tolak Reklamasi: The Struggle against Benoa Bay Reclamation is Growing Stronger

Bali Tolak Reklamasi: The Struggle against Benoa Bay Reclamation is Growing Stronger

"Bali Tolak Reklamasi" has been one of the biggest movements of protest in Bali's history, and it has been part of the local social scene of struggle for quite some time now.


This mass movement of people has actively been voicing their protests while spreading awareness on the problematic issue of the Benoa Bay reclamation plan in many different ways, widely reaching the elements of island's society.


The protest has now reached its critical point as after the long months of struggle of communicating that Bali stands against this 700ha reclamation project, the government has shown no signs of revoking the Presidential Decree Number 51/ 2014, which is the legal ground for the reclamation to be conducted by the appointed developer, PT. Tirta Wahana Bali International.


On Sunday, March 20, 2016, tens of thousands of demonstrators flooded the high profile street around the roundabout on By Pass Ngurah Rai nearby the Ngurah Rai International Airport, right by the entrance of the Bali Mandara Toll Road, which is also close by the reclamation site.


Once again, ForBali (The Bali Forum Against Reclamation) managed to gather an impressive number of people who are concerned about their home island to be subject to a project that would harm the environment on an alarming level.


The demonstrators consisted of all sorts of representatives of different communities on the island; the youth, politicians, artists, environmentalists, students, religious institutions and simply the people of 28 villages around the South part of the island.


As reported in ForBali.org, prior to this last massive demonstration, many similar activities of smaller sizes have been taking place almost weekly in different parts of South Bali.


Another significant move was made in February, when 14 heads of customary villages neighboring to Benoa Bay, accompanied by representatives of Walhi Bali, went to Jakarta to argue their case with the President's Chief of Staff. The movement's activities has shown to be increasing rapidly as the battle continues.


Aside from the official statements to fight the Benoa Bay reclamation plan made by villages around Badung regency and the municipality of Denpasar, which are the ‘home' areas to the project itself, communities from regencies across the island such as Klungkung, Karangasem, Nusa Lembongan and more, have also made their firm stand against the development of the artificial islands.


With the government not responding to the demand of the opposition, PT Tirta Wahana Bali International still owns their legal permit to conduct the project despite of all the studies which have shown how this would have a large negative impact on many aspects of the island's wellbeing, and not only for the part where it involves the flooding and drowning.


PT Tirta Wahana Bali 700 ha development project includes a luxury resort across four new islands which also consist of villas and apartments, a retail district, a marina, a cultural theme park and more, creating 150,000 employment opportunities.


The massive number of new rooms and facilities in yet another tourism destination of the island will only add up to the number of oversupply of hotel rooms which is already an issue for the Bali's tourism industry nowadays.


In the end, to quote Wayan Gendo Suardana, ForBali's Coordinator; ForBALI and all the supporters of Bali Tolak Reklamasi are not going to stop the fight until the Presidential Decree Number 51/ 2014 is revoked and the Benoa Bay reclamation is cancelled, for good.

 

Image taken from ForBali.org

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