TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – A distressing image of a traveling construction truck directly facing a Komodo dragon at the Rinca Island located in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, went viral as construction is ongoing to make the island’s natural landscape into a modern tourism site the government dubs the ‘Jurassic Park’ project.
Construction at the Rinca Island according to the Public work and Housing (PUPR) Ministry has entered the demolition phase of existing structures and piling the ground for the upcoming elevated deck which will be used as an access way connecting the Island’s facilities to the Loh Buaya Port. The facilities include Komodo dragon observation posts.
The PUPR Minister Basuki on Monday assures that construction in the Komodo’s habitat island – which has been named as UNESCO’s world heritage site – adheres to the environment, social aspects, and economy.
“We are always accompanied by rangers from the Komodo National Park which assures the construction process does not damage or disturb the Komodo’s habitat,” Minister Basuki claims.
However, protests have come from the West Manggarai communities joined under the FORMAPP which has criticized the use of heavy machineries and how its uses has affected the local ecosystem. The association also calls for the government to halt the “exploitative” project.
The Labuan Bajo and Flores Tourism Authority (BOPLBF) ensured that the tourism construction project in Loh Buaya, Rinca Island was being carried out attentively by considering the safety of komodo dragons. Loh Buaya resort is part of the Komodo National Park area, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT)
“The construction in Loh Buaya is conducted very carefully. A briefing regarding safety and security of workers and the most vital, the animals existing in Loh Buaya is held every morning so that no animals are harmed,” said BOPLBF President Director, Shana Fatina, when contacted by Antara on Monday, October 26, 2020.
Fatina said that the photo of a komodo facing a construction truck that went viral in the last few days should not be over-interpreted. The truck was needed in the project to carry heavy piles and equipment to the location, Shana argued.
“We should not make assumptions from the photo, because it can be opinions, not facts,” she stated.
Shana reiterated that all the tourism development project in Loh Buaya could only be done in certain zones and was under consideration of all ecological aspects as planned in the environmental impact assessment.
The government, Shana added, surely prioritized the ecosystem sustainability and balance during the tourism project of Loh Buaya, and that all were applied through in-depth considerations and studies.