More on the mudflow.
Sidoarjo Regent Win Hendrarso demanded Monday that Lapindo Brantas Inc., which owns the gas exploration well that has spewed out a torrent of hot mud since May 29, stop disposing of the mud into Porong River.
The regent said the company did not have the necessary permission from the regional administration and State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar.
Pressure on the company and the administration to get rid of the mud has been mounting, despite protests by the owners of thousands of shrimp hatcheries, for which the coastal town is famous.
(yesterday) Bloomberg news agency reported that PT Medco Energi Internasional, the country's largest oil company by market value, would set aside money to pay for damage caused by the flow of mud at the gas exploration well, which it partly owns.
Medco may have to pay as much as US$23.2 million based on its 32 percent share in the field. Lapindo estimates the cost of damages at $100 million, Medco's president Hilmi Panigoro said. Insurance payouts are capped at $27.5 million, he said.
At current estimates, the payments may account for 31 percent of the Jakarta-based company's 2005 profit and may cut its earnings and debt rating.
"To be prudent, we will make a provision ... (and) we will do our best to protect the interests of our shareholders," Panigoro said in an interview
(with the Jakarta Post
Lucky shareholders, eh?
Now, how about the nigh on 10,000 forced out of their homes, the 2,000 forced out of their jobs by the initial mudburst? And how about the shrimp farmers and others dependent on coastal trades about to have their livelihoods wiped out by the toxic mud? And the coral reefs? And...?
Jakartass supports every effort being made by local residents, NGOs and other concerned citizens to force the so-called Minister for People's Welfare to face up to his responsibilities as co-owner (principle and principal shareholder) of the company responsible for this mess. It is not a 'natural disaster'. It is a human error of stupendous proportions brought about by a simple oversight or plain profit-driven malfeasance.
If Abdurizal Bakrie were Japanese and this wasn't the 21st century, he would be expected to commit hara-kiri in order to save his (quite ugly) face. Well, he isn't Japanese, but let's hope we will be spared any future sightings of his jutting jaw.