The Multinational Monitor

JUNE 1989 - VOLUME 10 - NUMBER 6


To the Editor:

In response to your World Bank Disaster article (MM March, 1989), unfortunately it appears that the controversy at the World Bank funded Kedung Ombo Dam is far from over. Domestic circumstances and perhaps pressure from Bank executives in Jakarta forced the Indonesian government to climb down from its insistence on transmigration or resettlement at the waterless Kayen site. The government promised to offer peasants still living in the dam area alternative land, belonging to the state forestry company, immediately surrounding the dam. Since then there has been no news about the location, price, extent or value of the land. The pressure to transmigrate to Sumatra or move to Kayen is still great.

Clearly there is still a long way to go before the crisis is over. With a temporary drop in the water level reducing the urgency for both the peasants and the government to resolve the conflict, it seems more likely that the current stalemate will be allowed to drag on. But the World Bank should not now consider its role in the affair finished. It must continue to exert pressure so that the government keeps its promises and that the peasants do not permanently swell the ranks of World Bank "development victims."

Carmel Budiardjo,
TAPOL, The Indonesia Human Rights Campaign
Surrey, England

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