REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, REMBANG -- State Enterprises Minister Rini M Soemarno has said the cement plant of PT Semen Indonesia in Rembang, Central Java is expected to start operations in April. "We are yet to set the date, but we are optimistic (it could be started) in April 2017," Rini said during her visit to the plant, here on Friday.
The minister was accompanied by President Director of PT Semen Indonesia Rizkan Chandra, President Director of Bank Mandiri Kartika Wiroatmodjo and BNI President Director Achmad Baiquni. During the visit, she held a dialogue with representatives of local communities. "I will report the result of this visit to the President," Rini added.
According to the minister, all necessary permits for the factory's operation have almost been granted, except for the environment permit. She assured that the factory would benefit residents in the region. "This factory cannot be operated without the public's support." Rini further said the authority would find a solution for some 5 percent of residents, who are against the construction of the plant. "For some 5 percent residents, who are against the plant, we will seek a solution for their future activities," Rini said.
The factory is surrounded by five villages namely Tegaldowo, Kajar, Pasucen, Kadiwono, and Timbrangan village. The government claimed that majority of villagers supported the factory that has been built since 2011.
Farmers had fought against the construction of the factory for years, saying it would compromise the quality of water source at the Kendeng Karst mountain. They argued that they only want to farm in peace and were making a decent living growing crops.
Meanwhile, Semen Indonesia has argued that the factory would create jobs and improve the local economy, which was much needed by Kendeng residents. This argument has been supported by several other residents.