Indonesian plant could threaten natural springs

Indonesian plant could threaten natural springs
Published: 08 August 2008

Members of a Javanese traditional youth group called Sedulur Sikep are concerned the planned construction of a cement factory by Semen Gresik in Sukolilo district, Central Java, could pose an environment threat to 48 nearby springs.

Cement producer PT Semen Gresik (SG) plans to construct the plant in the mountainous area of Kendeng Utara, where there are 87 springs. "We oppose the project, which will be detrimental to our surroundings," the group’s leader, Gunretno, told The Jakarta Post in Semarang. Sedulur Sikep is made up of villagers concerned about nature and Javanese cultural preservation. They live in and around the Kendeng Utara mountainous region and are descendants or followers of Wong Samin Suryo Sentiko, a rebel during the Dutch colonial rule.SG and Central Java Governor Ali Mufiz agreed in April this year to build the plant to the value of US$320 million with an annual capacity of 2.5Mt of cement. Construction is expected to be completed over the next three to four years. The local administration has issued a building permit for the factory, allocating a 2,000ha plot. The factory will be built on 1,432ha.

As many as 1,771 residents from eight surrounding villages, including Sedulur Sikep members, have claimed ownership of the land.