After being criticized by environmental organizations for its poor forest practices, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) is now facing protest by local communities. The students association of Pelalawan district protested at the main office of APRI’s sublidy and main supplier, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) for failing in bringing employment for locals as well as for the lack of transparency industrial waste the management. Hipmawan, the Pelalawan students association, staged protest in Pekanbaru last week by spreading banners and speech blaming ignorance by the pulp giant, local media reported. Hipmawan told journalists that PT RAPPâ€™s existence in the district has caused more losses to the communityâ€™s living rather than the benefit. Hipmawan collected evidence of environmental destruction impacted by APRILâ€™s main supplier in Kampar River due to pulp mill waste, gagasanriau.com online magazine reported.
Last month, a corruption watchdog urged law enforcers to probe forestry-related corruption cases involving APRIL suppliers as its main supplier, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) caused the State suffering loss of Rp 929 billion (USD 94.7 million).
During their protest in Pekanbaru on 18 April, Hipmawan urged APRIL to be transparent in managing waste and to apply standardized industrial waste management. “We assume that industrial waste was thrown into Kampar River, so the recent condition for the river is polluted, said Abdul Wadud. He also blamed PT RAPP for providing less opportunity for job seekers in Pelalawan district despite government rules suggested a company to allocate 30 percent of local workers. The studentsâ€™ group accused APRILâ€™s PT RAPP of driving poverty to local farmers as they suffered shrinkage of land for agriculture that traditionally cultivated for decades, but now appeared to be taken over by the company after obtaining licenses from the government.
In March, Indonesia Corruption Watch published that PT RAPP caused the State loss due to cases of forestry license scandals in the province. “Such a data are ones that become the Courtâ€™s decision regarding to cases of corruption in industrial timber plantation business licensing,” said Tama S. Langkun, the ICW campaigner as quoted as saying by ANTARA news agency. ICW said besides PT RAPP there are other 16 timber suppliers of APRIL and APP groups that allegedly involved in corruption cases inflicting huge Stateâ€™s losses such as PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari, PT Selaras Abadi Utama, PT Uniseraya, CV Putri Lindung Bulan, CV Tuah Negeri, CV Mutiara Lestari, PT Rimba Mutiara Permai, PT Mitra Tani Nusa Sejati, PT Bhakti Praja Mulia, PT Trio Mas FDI, PT Satria Perkasa Agung, PT Mitra Hutani Jaya, CV Alam Jaya, CV Harapan Jaya, PT Madukuro and PT Yos Raya Timber.