Analysts Urge Government To Carefully Verify Land-Use Rights

Jakarta – Analysts have called on the Indonesian government to carefully conduct verifications before taking decisions to revoke the land-use rights (HGU) of around 34,448 hectares of idle plantations across the country.

Prof. Dr. Budi Mulyanto, a professor of soil science at the Bogor University of Agriculture (IPB), said that HGU is not a permit, but land rights (HAT) which is stipulated in the law (UU) No.5/1960 and its implementing regulations.

“As the HGU is land rights, it is based on constitutional authority that must be respected and followed by other prevailing regulations,” he said.

According to Budi Mulyanto, to get the HGU, plantation companies have to go through a long process of licensing, which includes location permit for land clearing.

“The land site should be also free from forest area status, wood/forest products, community land, moratorium map, nucleus-plasma mechanism and license conflicts,” said Budi Mulyanto, who is also the chairman of the Association of Indonesian Soil Scientists (HITI) in Jakarta on Saturday, 08 December 2022.

He admitted that after having the HGU, the land site should be planted to avoid being subjected to the government regulation (PP) No.11/2010 on derelict land that authorizes revocation of the HGU.

“But if the land site become a plantation that is already planted with certain crops, then it shouldn’t be revoked. That’s why the government, through related technical ministries, should conduct a detailed verification carefully, transparently and accountably,” he asserted.

“Indiscriminate revocation of HGU is potential to reduce Indonesia’s rank of Ease of Doing Bussiness or EODB,” said Budi.

Meanwhile, Dr Sadino, an expert on forestry and environment law, said that the government is obliged to verify the HGU of the 34,448 Ha abandoned plantations.

Sadino said that it is because not all lands under the HGU can be planted. “There are portions of the lands, such as sandy lands, river basins and High Conservation Value (HVC), that could not be planted. Even a number of land sites owned by state-owned plantation companies could not be planted due to disputes with the local communities,” said Sadino.

He also reminded the government that it could not revoke the HGU without conducting a transparent verification. It is because in certain HGU cases, the releasing of location can be upgraded to land rights.

“Due to the change of rights, then the final authority lies with the ministry of agrarian and spatial planning/national land agency (BPN) and not the ministry of environment and forestry,” said Sadino. (*)

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