On January 25, 2011, the Indonesian government, represented by the State Owned Enterprise PT. Angkasa Pura I agreed, in cooperation with investors, for the construction of an international airport megaproject in the coastal region of Kulon Progo. The project is known as NYIA (New Yogyakarta International Airport).
According to the plan, the NYIA construction will require an area of at least 637 hectares, however, this is to be expanded to 2000 hectares to realise the ‘airport city’ which will potentially lead to growing number of evictions and expulsions of residents for the benefit of the large investors.
The proposed development is located in six villages: a home to about 11,501 people, or 2,875 households. Many people depend on agriculture, and most are small farmers managing land between 2000 and 4000 square meters in size. If the airport plan goes ahead, it is estimated that 148,000 farm workers will lose their livelihoods, and the jobs theoretically provided by the new development are nowhere close to this number. What’s more, the disinformation campaign that the airport will be built on a low productivity land is deceptive to say the least: the very fertile land delivers approx 450 tons of food crops per year from each hectare: that will also be lost with the new airport. .
Moreover, the airport will lead to the ecosystem destruction. One of the biggest concerns are the sand dunes along the southern coast of Yogyakarta, which consist one of the most critical protections against erosion and are the major protector against the threat of tsunamis, prevent salinization of groundwater and erosion of coastal plains. The proposed airport plan will lead to the loss of the sand dunes and will make the region prone to natural disasters. The construction will also destroy cultural heritage sites which have been part of the tradition of the residents.
Ever since the development plan was announced, the local residents are organising against it. The following pdf, sent to Freedom News by some local activists, is a detailed account on the situation in the area, and the steps taken by the local community to oppose the new airport. It is well worth a read.
You can find the full pdf file here.