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Haze: Huge Indon U-turn within a week

In Environment, Indonesia on 29/10/2015 at 5:23 am

The British have a saying, “A week is a long time in politics.”

Yesterday CNA reported, Indonesia is considering declaring a national emergency over fires that have been smouldering across the archipelago for weeks, sending haze drifting across much of Southeast Asia, the vice president said on Tuesday.

The government would intensify efforts to contain the fires that have caused pollution levels across the region to spike to unhealthy levels, and forced school closures and flight cancellations, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said.

“The problem is too big,” Kalla said in an interview at his office in Jakarta.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-considers/2221238.html

But on 21 October, Companies will benefit if haze problem declared national disaster: Indonesian minister

The annual haze problem in Indonesia is about injustice, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for politics, law and security Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said.

“When a company controls 2.8 million hectares of land, where is the justice? Then there are those that own 600,000 hectares of land but own not a single fire extinguisher,” he said in an interview in the Oct 25 issue of Tempo, an Indonesian weekly news magazine.

He explained authorities’ reluctance to declare the haze problem a national disaster, even though air pollution levels in some Indonesian cities have reached hazardous levels at more than 2,600 API.

“Should the government be dousing fires all the time? If we call it a national disaster, they will benefit from it,” he said, referring to land concession owners. “They have 500 million pounds sterling in London banks, but they demand that we douse the flames.”

(CNA)

The plantation owners could use  any declaration of a national emergency to declare force majeure on palm oil deals, even financing deals entered into with banks.

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