The development project of a National Tourism Area (KSPN) for Lake Toba, North Sumatra, has been strongly opposed by the indigenous community.
Manogu Manurung, a representative of the indigenous community of Raja Na Opat in Sigapiton Village near Lake Toba, expressed his concerns about water shortages as the development project is their only source of water.
“We fear the water supply to irrigate agriculture land will drop, while it is the only water resource we have for drinking water and irrigation,” Manogu stated at a press conference.
“Conflict is rising between the people because the government, Tourism Ministry, sends people from Jakarta to the village and live there by renting locals’ houses. This increases a sense of suspicion of each other,” said Suryati Simanjuntak, a member of a study and development team who liaised with the community. Suryati commented that social conflict within communities is inevitable.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) Dewi Kartika, said that the development of infrastructure in Lake Toba must prioritise methods instead of dissemination. “It is important to elaborate about how the locals understand the risk from the development project,” Dewi noted.