The residents of Selasih village in Bali’s Gianyar regency on Saturday attempted to block heavy equipment from clearing their farmlands. Photos from the altercation showed some women taking their tops off as a form of protest, as they reportedly faced hundreds of police officers who were overseeing the process.
“We had to step aside because there are only a handful of village residents and we were in no way prepared,” Wayan Kariasa, a Selasih resident, told Kumparan.
According to reports, PT Ubud Resort Duta Development (URDD) claims to have building rights over the disputed land. The conflict had been ongoing for years, and Wayan said Selasih residents and URDD had previously agreed that no heavy equipment was to enter the village until they reach an actual agreement regarding the land rights.
After what happened on Saturday, members of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) sat down with Selasih residents and URDD representatives to discuss the issue yesterday. It seems that they have reached an agreement, which allows URDD to continue their development project, though the future of the residents remain unclear.
“If we are relocated, there’s no reassurance that we will prosper. It’s quite simple, really, maybe the relocation area won’t allow us to keep a steady and promising job,” Wayan said.
Another resident, identified as Putu Astiti, also expressed her fears over what will happen to their future.
“Please halt the ongoing development project. It’s not just us who’s worried, it’s our kids, too, they are scared to see the heavy equipment [clearing the lands],” Astiti reportedly said.
Around 300 police officers were deployed to oversee the land clearing process. A representative from URDD, Mohammad Syawal, said that their project cannot be delayed because they are hoping to bring in potential investors.
“We were blocked the other day, so we asked for protection from the police. If they are going to continue to block us, we will continue to have the police involved,” Syawal said.
As issues of rapid development continue to plague the island, it might be worth considering what draws tourists to Bali in the first place. As one user on Twitter pointed out, destroying the lands and people’s livelihoods is actually destroying what attracted people to visit the Island of the Gods.
Indonesia fails on many counts to understand what #sustainable tourism development means. Tourists don’t go to #Bali to see resorts. If you destroy the land and people’s livelihoods, you destroy the very things that draw people to sites like Bali. https://t.co/zcZZCxplxq
— Kelli Swazey (@KSwazey) November 24, 2019
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