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Why the PTLU Batang project is causing a stir for Indonesia?

The construction of Indonesia country’s largest coal-fired power plant in Batang, Central Java will continue as originally scheduled despite strong protests from locals and environmental groups.

Mr Luky Eko Wuryanto deputy for infrastructure and regional planning at the office of the coordinating economic minister, said that the government would do everything it could to ensure that the construction of the PLTU Batang power plant runs smoothly. He said that the controversy and protests staged by locals and environmental groups were basically misleading.

The construction of PLTU Batang, which would have a capacity of 2,000 megawatts, the biggest in Southeast Asia, faced stiff opposition from local residents, who said that the power plant’s operations would damage the surrounding environment.

Several locals have also accused the government of using forms of violence and intimidation when acquiring their land needed for the power plant’s establishment.

He said that “The condition there may not be fully conducive, but we are very firm in our position: this project will go on.”

He explained that, if the project failed to proceed, then it would deter prospective foreign investors looking to put their money in Indonesia’s infrastructure projects.

It would consequently hurt the image of the Indonesian government, which had actively promoted its Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development, as well as its Public-Private Partnership plans, to lure foreigners to invest in the country’s much needed infrastructure projects, the deputy minister said that.

The USD 4 billion power plant will be built by PT Bhimasena Power Indonesia a consortium that comprises the Japan based J Power Electric Power Development Co Ltd, Itochu Corporation, as well as local coal miner Adaro Energy. The power plant will operate as an independent power producer, which will sell its electricity to state owned electricity company PLN

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