Hundreds of Takalar Residents Demonstrate Against the Extension of PTPN XIV's HGU

  •  Hundreds of residents of Takalar Regency , South Sulawesi, together with activists from the People's Anti-Land Monopoly Movement (GRAMT) demonstrated against the extension of the HGU PTPN XIV Takalar, in front of the Takalar Regent's Office and BPN Takalar.
  • Since its inception, the sugar factory in Takalar has been accused of land grabbing in   1978 and continues to this day.
  • The end of the HGU PTPN
  • One of their demands is to ask the National Police and TNI not to carry out intimidation in any form against residents who are struggling to reclaim land rights.

As many as 300 farmers including women from eight villages/sub-districts in North Polongbangkeng District, Takalar Regency , South Sulawesi together with activists from the People's Anti-Land Monopoly Movement (GRAMT) demonstrated in front of the Takalar Regent's Office and the Takalar National Land Agency (BPN), Tuesday (5/3/2024).

This action is a response to the expiry of the PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN)

They came in a convoy of dozens of cars towards the Takalar Regent's Office. In front of the regent's office they unfurled a banner demanding that the PTPN XIV Takalar HGU not continue. 'Takalar People Reject Extension of PTPN IV Takalar's HGU', 'Reclaim People's Land, Oppose PTPN XIV Takalar's HGU Extension'. There were also dozens of women showing posters reading 'Takalar Women Refuse to Extend HGU PTPN

“This action is an effort to reclaim land that was confiscated decades ago. With the end of the PTPN HGU, residents should have the right to return to managing the land. "The regional government is obliged to ensure that this is fulfilled," said Melisa, legal assistant from the Makassar Legal Aid Institute (LBH).

According to Melisa, land confiscation has an impact on farmers' inability to cultivate their own land, ultimately making them unable to meet their daily needs.

"Not a few of them are forced to become agricultural laborers on their own land, construction workers and even have to leave their villages to migrate to look for work," he said.

A number of female farmers from villages affected by this HGU also submitted complaints, one of them, Daeng Ngati, from West Lassang Village.

“We were promised by the government that the land would only be contracted for 25 years. After that it will be returned to the community. In fact, since our land was taken until now the government and companies have not returned it. "We have difficulty meeting our daily needs and even paying for our children's school fees is also difficult because there is no land that can be managed ," he said.

According to Al Iqbal, Head of Advocacy and Campaigns at KontraS Sulawesi, residents' lands were forcibly taken through acts of intimidation and violence by security forces in 1978 who did not hesitate to shoot residents and force them to accept inadequate compensation.

"The residents did not accept that the land had been taken and then carried out various resistance until now, to resist the confiscation of their land and efforts to reclaim the land."

Iqbal said that the sugar factory in Takalar had confiscated land since its inception in 1978 and continues to this day. This land confiscation is considered to have had an impact on oppression and structural impoverishment of Takalar residents . The sugar factory has confiscated residents' land to become sugar cane plantations with an HGU land area of ​​6650 hectares, spread across 11 villages in Polongbangkeng and North Polongbangkeng Districts , Takalar Regency.

“Decades after farmers were separated from their land, they live in poverty caused by state policies that ignore their rights. "After decades of people's land being confiscated, the company only had legal HGU concessions in 1994 and 1998. This year the company's HGU has run out, this is the momentum so that farmers' land can be returned," said Supianto, a GRAMT activist.

According to Supianto, the end of PTPN Takalar's HGU is legal for farmers to reclaim land to manage which for decades has been controlled by PTPN Takalar. This statement was reinforced by Muhammad Nur, as Staff of the BPN Dispute Section, who emphasized that to date no party has submitted a request for an HGU extension and has written to Komnas HAM regarding this matter.

Supianto said that in 2008 the p akkawa incident occurred , namely an incident where several residents had succeeded in re-cultivating their land, and had to experience clashes with security forces, as a result two residents were shot by security forces.

"In 2009, residents again demonstrated against the company, which was triggered by the company's statement that they considered that residents had no right to manage it. "The residents protested and chased the PTPN XIV staff, as well as blocking PTPN

This action resulted in the summons, arrest and questioning of 10 residents, some of whom were forcibly picked up and two people were detained at the Takalar Police office.

A number of residents' demands in this action were to ask the local government not to provide recommendations for extending PTPN XIV Takalar's HGU before the residents' lands were returned. They also asked BPN not to issue an extension certificate for PTPN Takalar's HGU before the residents' lands that had previously been confiscated were returned to the residents.

Another demand is for the National Police and TNI not to carry out intimidation efforts in any form against residents who are struggling to reclaim land rights.

PTPN XIV (Persero), including former PT Perkebunan XXIII (Persero) development projects in South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi.

The deed of establishment of PT Perkebunan Nusantara dated October 8, 1996, addition Number 8678).

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