As clear as mud
A week after I criticised the Bakrie clan
for not being seen for taking responsibility for the Sidoarjo mudflow in East Java, they have finally taken notice.What has long been waited for has eventually happened. In Porong market, Sidoarjo, East Java, Nirwan Bakrie
(brother of Abdurizal, Minister for People's Welfare), accompanying the entourage of Vice President Jusuf Kalla, arrived to meet with the thousands of victims evacuated because of the mudflow disaster. The appearance of the person who now controls the Bakrie Group of businesses, on Tuesday last week created a great deal of attention.
He was directly bombarded with demands for compensation. This is because Lapindo Brantas Inc., a subsidiary of the Bakrie Group, stands accused of being responsible for the hot mudflows that have appeared during this month in the subdistrict of Porong, Sidoarjo.
The mudflows have covered the villages of Jatirejo, Renokenongo, Siring and Kedungbendo. Previously productive paddy fields that are also now covered in mud total about 127.29 hectares, while another 503 hectares are threatened. The mudflows have also flooded part of the Gempol-Surabaya toll road to a height of 20 centimeters.
The volume of the mudflows has increased rapidly from an average of 5,000 cubic meters per day to 50,000 cubic meters. In total, the overall amount of the mudflows has now reached 1.1 million cubic meters-the equivalent of 183,000 average size truckloads.
The indepth article in Tempo InterActive
goes on to infer that share transactions were completed and the drilling contract was awarded with unseeming speed "because of someone close to Lapindo
It is clear that negligence was to blame for the leak. A casing casing of 9 and 5/8 inches (around 25 centimeters) in diameter had to be installed at a depth of 8,500 feet (2,590 meters). The function of this casing was to prevent any potential leakage of moving mud and mudflow from kicking to the surface.
It wasn't installed.
So we can forget the early (and convenient) excuse that the leak was caused by the earthquake which devastated the area around Yogya some two days earlier.
So, what to do? As Yosef Ardi reports today
, there's an easy answer, albeit another environmental disaster - the frustrated deputy regent of Sidoarjo Syaiful Illah said over the weekend that Madura Strait will likely be the final shelter of the hot mudflow chanelled through Porong River.
That the leak was the result of a human error, presumably explains the timing of the government's announcement that they have decided to rush ahead with their scheme to build a nuclear power station on the densely-populated slopes of Mount Muria - a dormant volcano in Jepara regency on the northern coast of Central Java
(and a bit closer to Yogya than Sidoarjo) - despite concerns over the enforcement of safety standards and the area's susceptibility to earthquakes.Tempo InterActive PollMust sanction be imposed against PT Lapindo Brantas for the sulfurous mud and gas burst in Sidoarjo?Yes - 100%
- so said all 12 of us when I voted.