Posted : Mon, 25 Aug 2008 09:54:57 GMT
Jakarta – Hundreds of homeless residents from East Java province demanded compensation for their properties destroyed by a massive mudflow caused by an industrial accident. More than 14,000 homes, 33 schools, 65 mosques and an orphanage have been buried since May 2006 when a “mud volcano” began oozing to the surface following an oil-drilling accident in East Java district of Sidoardjo, an industrial suburb.
“Our two-year housing rents is running out, but so far we don’t know yet when they would pay the remaining 80 per cent of compensation. Now, we have no place to stay,” said Heri Iswandi, one of the protest leaders, was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency.
“This land still belong to us. We will continue to block the BPLS’ works from continuing to built dams here until we get full payment of the compensation money,” Iswandi said.
BPLS is the government-sanctioned Sidoarjo Mud Mitigation Agency, which has been working to stem the flow with a network of dams and by channelling some of it into the sea, but with little success so far.
Gas leaks are increasingly common around the site as the weight of the mud causes the ground to sink and trapped gas makes its way to the surface.
The sludge also buried railway tracks and toll roads, causing serious traffic disruption.
The drilling operation, operated by the Indonesian company PT Lapindo Brantas, apparently hit an underground volcanic mud flow while drilling at a depth of 3,000 metres, allowing the sludge to spew to the surface.
Geologists, scientists, non-governmental organizations and many victims blame the company for irresponsible drilling. Lapindo is backed by two court rulings that said an earthquake near Yogyakarta, 250 kilometres away, triggered the mud volcano.
The government accepted responsibility last year for costs related to the disaster’s social impact on people living outside swamped areas. But it ordered Lapindo to pay 3.8 trillion rupiah (425 million dollars) in partial compensation for the mud disaster.