Thursday, 25 Safar 1441 / 24 October 2019

Thursday, 25 Safar 1441 / 24 October 2019

Mantari Bondar, a tradition to conserve water and forest

Jumat 17 May 2019 16:01 WIB

Rep: Puti Almas/ Red: Ani Nursalikah

Rapat Penjago Bondar Desa Hatabosi, Tapsel, untuk menjaga konservasi air kawasan Cagar Alam Sibual-buali.

Rapat Penjago Bondar Desa Hatabosi, Tapsel, untuk menjaga konservasi air kawasan Cagar Alam Sibual-buali.

Foto: Republika/Idealisa Masyrafina
Mantari Bondar is actually an officer who maintains water stream and forest.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, SOUTH TAPANULI -- Local community in South Tapanuli, North Sumatra province has a local wisdom to conserve water sources and Sibual-buali Conservation Area which called Mantari Bondar. This is a tradition from Hatabosi which stands for Haunatas, Tanjung Rompa, Bonan Dolok, and Siranap.

Those are four villages name. Those villages are located in Marancar District, South Tapanuli Regency. Mantari Bondar is a tradition to maintain water sources and also forest in Hatabosi area for hundred years.

“Mantari means a minister and Bondar means water stream, so Mantari Bondar oversees eight Penjago Bondar, all of which are chosen by the community,” said Musohur Pasaribu as Mantari Bondar of Hatabosi.

Mantari Bondar is actually an officer who maintains water stream and forest. The rules of the ancestral heritage has been agreed by local community and all people in Hatabosi area. Mantari and Penjago are in charge of guarding the forest and watching the springs from damage and taking care of the flow of water so that it is not clogged.

"When it rains, water ropes are often clogged with wood and rocks. Landslides clog the water source the most. Penjago Bondar will clean along four kilometers of Batangtoru river,” Musohur explained.

Penjago Bondar will clean up the clogged water flow, while Mantari Bondar, more concerned with water disputes that arise with custom sanction mechanisms. Mantari and Penjago Bondar receive a 'wage' from setting aside a portion of their agricultural produce for a certain amount and being paid per year.

“The wage is two cans of rice per family in Hatabosi. One can contains 16 kilograms of rice and being distributed by Mantari,” said Musohur.

Mantari Bondar currently come from Haunatas village and Penjago Bondar is a representative of Haunatas Village, Tanjung Dolok Village, and Siranap Village (Aek Sabaon Village). Hatabosi cannot be separated from the history of Simaretong village birth or known as Haunatas village from Pasaribu clan around 1907. Threfore, Mantari Bondar must come from Pasaribu clan.

North Sumatra Sarekat Hijau Indonesia (SHI) chairperson, Hendrawan Hasibuan said Mantari Bondar regulated the system of management and distribution of the waterways based on the agreement of the four villages. One of the terms is he must have rice fields and treated in marriage. If he leave the village, the rights to use water stream will be lost, but will be returned if he come back.

"Furthermore, if there is damage, for example to the water stream, the one who responsible for repairing is Panjago Bondar,” Hendra said.

Meanwhile, sources of funds for equipment, maintenance, and surveillance are from the communities of the four villages. Where everyone who uses water is required to pay two cans of rice each year. For new residents from outside the descendants of the four villages, they are required to pay 12 kilograms of rubber latex and three rice tubes.

Mantari Bondar will sell it and the money will be used to buy equipment such as hoes, machetes, and tools commonly used to repair irrigation. The rest is set aside for wages Mantari Bondar. While the wages of Panjago Bondar are arranged by Mantari Bondar based on the working day of Panjago Bondar in a year.

All are regulated in an agreement by the community, most important is the prohibition for the community of four villages and communities outside the village so as not to damage the forest, especially in the upper reaches of Aek Sirabun (the Sibual Forest Reserve) and along the waterways. If there is a violation, it will be tried by the community itself according to the agreed rules, then proceed to the state legal process.

However, the community feel regional government in South Tapanuli has not appreciated their hard work. There was no appreciation so far or an award.

“We work there (on the river), but they only know there are people from water agency,” Musohur added.

Not only maintaining water conservation, local villagers also protect protected animals in the region, such as the Sumatran orangutan which is endemic in the region. Orangutans have coexisted with humans in the forest area since the time of our ancestors. By protecting this animal, it is believed to have also preserved the forest area.

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