Barak Induk Takes a Huge Step Closer to Legal Status

In 2018, Harapan Maju Village, the official local government of the area, launched a program to bring electricity into Barak Induk. On January 8, 2018, the national electricity company (PLN) contracted 45 poles received by Mislan on behalf of Barak Induk residents.

On January 23, 2018, Mount Leuser National Park Administration (BBTNGL) canceled the plan claiming the electricity passed through Mount Leuser National Park (TNGL), forest protected under the UNESCO convention. The meeting was with the Forest Rangers, Village Head of Harapan Maju Village and PLN Rayon Pangkal Susu to declare that the Electric Village Introduction Program (LISDES). This land, although on the edge of the UN protected forest, was deforested in the 1970s, and was cleared to plant oil palm when the refugees arrived. They have planted forest trees, mostly rubber, hardwood fruits, teak and mahogany, over the past two decades. The Department of Forestry consistently works to drive them off this land to turn it back over to the local oil palm industry.

In a shocking turn of events, the Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation Center (BKSDAE), Ir. Wiratno, apologized to the community for the past acts of violence that occurred in resolving forestry conflicts on February 23, 2018.

This meeting was organized by the Farmers’ Congress of farmer groups in Mount Leuser National Park (TNGL) Resort Sekoci in PIR ADB Village, Besitang District. It was attended by Director General of Natural Resources Conservation (KSDA) Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Wiratno, Head of TNGL Center, Misran, and Republic of Indonesia Presidential Staff, Forkopimda Forkopimcam, Pasi Intel Yonif-8 Marines, Captain Mar Tri Hendarjatmo, the Sultan of Langkat, Azwar Abdul Djalil Rahmatsyah, Langkat Congressional (DPRD) Chairman, Ralen S, academics, and hundreds of residents.

After the Farmer Congress, the Director General of LHK, Head of BBTNGL, Langkat Chief of Police, and local government officials visited the Barak Induk to deliberate on matters relating to the process of land dispute resolution. In the meeting, it was stated that the Barak Induk area was one of the targets of the government program for Agrarian Reform through the TORA program of Land Object of Agrarian Reform. Data collection and mapping will be conducted as the basis of policy to give legal ownership rights and spatial management. The BBTNGL also proposed a partnership program for the management of Protected Forest areas with the community.

The future concessions and plans presented by the government bring happiness to the people of Barak Induk. But in the process, Mislan said they must stay guarded. The people of Barak Induk need support to understand the Agrarian Reform Law and their legal protections under the law, to continue to protect the rights of the people.