Land Acquisition Law ‘should cover existing projects’
Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post - 25/05/2012
the newly approved Land Acquisition Law must cover existing toll road projects to speed construction of long-delayed projects, an industry group says.
Indonesian Toll Road Association (ATI) chairman Fatchur Rochman told reporters on Thursday in Jakarta that the law should cover projects with valid location permits and with land plots that were currently under appraisal for compensation.
Expired location permits should be extended and covered under the new law, he added.
Fatchur also said that “Projects whose developers have agreed to a compensation price with land owners can proceed, as stipulated by the previous regulation after the transfer of the ownership is completed”.
The long-awaited law was passed the House of Representatives in December and is awaiting an enacting regulation before it can come into force.
The law is expected to provide certainty for government-backed infrastructure projects. The law, among several others, sets a 436-day time frame to resolve all legal proceedings pertinent to a given land acquisition. Previously, contested land acquisitions took several years to resolve.
The law also ensures a more democratic process for land acquisition by offering 60 days for a public consultation process.
It also gives the National Land Agency (BPN) the authority to appoint an independent appraisal team, comprising independent financial experts focusing on agrarian issues and certified by the agency to establish a compensation price for land holders.
The valuation process must be complete in 30 days and can be paid in cash, a resettlement benefit, land ownership or stock ownership in the government project, under the law
Under the implementing presidential regulation that is currently being drafted and is set to be issued next month, ongoing land acquisitions should refer to previous regulations, such as the 2006 presidential regulation on land acquisition, until 2014.
However, Fatchur said that that would make the acquisition difficult as the 2006 regulation did not specify deadlines and or which institution would be in charge of the process, which the 2012 law did.
“This previous regulation has been proven as not conducive hampering the acquisition process. In a six-year period, we could build only 75 kilometers of toll roads,” Fatchur said.
ATI department chairman for under-construction toll roads, Tri Agus shared a similar view, pointing out that uncertainty created by the previous regulation meant that 66 percent of the land needed for 24 ongoing toll-road projects nationwide had not been acquired.
The 24 projects, 85 percent of which are located in Java Island, are estimated to cost Rp 120 trillion (US$12.96 billion).
“If this land should be acquired in reference to the old presidential regulation until 2014, is there any guarantee that they will be finished by then?” he said, adding that at present, a number of toll road developers slowed their projects to wait for certainty expected from the new presidential regulation.