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Besieged by investors, WCH status of Jatiluwih at risk

Besieged by investors WCH status of Jatiluwih at riskInclusion of Jatiluwih into the World Cultural Heritage (WCH) is at risk. It is triggered by the coming of investors starting to invade the region. Therefore, it is feared to harm the local natural environment. The information was revealed by Chairman of Tabanan House, Ketut ‘Boping’ Suryadi.He asserted to get a lot of complaints about the onslaught of investors to Jatiluwih. The onslaught by investors was feared to have a negative impact. One of them was the decline in the authenticity of the agriculture in the region.

Boping said if the authenticity of Jatiluwih degenerated, the WCH status from the UNESCO could be revoked. “It becomes a tough task,” said the PDI-P politician. To that end, the House was preparing a draft of regional bylaw on Green Belt to stem the onslaught of investors, chiefly those that could have an impact on the authenticity of tourism in Tabanan. Boping said the stipulation of green belt should not be haphazard. Thus, it required a special legal instrument to regulate it. “To save tourism, it is required a strict arrangement on the green belt. We will implement this at Jatiluwih. Do not let the land be divided into plots by investors due to high prices,” he said.

Typically, said Boping, the investors would be looking for an opportunity to develop business in tourist resort. One of them was by purchasing land at high prices. By degrees, some buildings would eventually emerge and the like. If that happened, the authenticity of Jatiluwih would certainly shift. Then, the status of WCH would not continue. Moreover, every five years, the UNESCO would monitor the development of the region.

The onslaught of investors to Jatiluwih was justified by Secretary of Subak Jatiluwih, Semarajaya. However, this man affirmed that no single investor had controlled the farmland. They just purchased plantation area around the tourist area of Jatiluwih. “Investors have long besieged Jatiluwih. However, they did not look for rice fields, but plantation,” he said via telephone. Nevertheless, the onslaught of investors should be alerted as it could pervade to farmland areas.

According to Semarajaya, until this moment, the entire rice field area was still owned by local farmers of Jatiluwih. They persisted in preserving their rice field for a living. “We just need a commitment to equal distribution of tourism yield to farmers. On that account, the onslaught of investors can be stemmed,” he affirmed. In addition, the infrastructure supporting the agricultural sustainability should also be addressed properly.

The number of farmers at Jatiluwih reached 395 people with a land area of 303 hectares. This amount is divided into 7 sub-groups of subak. Since the inclusion into the WCH, the farmland at Jatiluwih had been designated as an everlasting or sustainable farmland. In other words, farmers were prohibited from selling or building in the region. If the sale occurred, it was still banned from establishing a permanent building. “We’re proposing contribution to farmers after the approval of the WCH,” said the man nicknamed Mr. Krishna. Moreover, since the inclusion into the WCH, the number of tourist arrivals kept on increasing. (kmb30)

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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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