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Agrarian Reform Priority Locations (Part-6)

The Land Formerly Assigned under Erfpacht Right of Plantation to Dutch Company at Sumedang

Sumedang – In Dutch colonial era, we have known of erfpacht right. It was one product of land regulations issued by Dutch colonial government in archipelago area. The regulation itself was called Agrarische Wet. The law was intended to develop large plantations for Dutch kingdom in archipelago area. Those plantations had a duty to supply spices, such as clover, nutmeg, and various others for the Dutch kingdom and European trading. The erfpacht right had capitalistic features, in which the right owner was allowed to possess cultivation right over land with unlimited vastness and time.

In independence era, the first regime of Indonesia lead by Soekarno eliminated Agrarische Wet and then replaced it with law that has more nationalistic and social justice features, in accordance with values upheld high by Indonesian people. Therefore Basic Agrarian Law or UUPA was born in 1960, which marked a new era for land sector in Indonesia. The change of law then automatically erased erfpacht right.

In fact, the elimination of erfpacht right was conducted two years before the UUPA was born. It was contained in the Law No. 1 of 1958 on elimination of private (partikelir) land. Most of that kind of land today has already been cultivated by Indonesian people. One of them is located at Sumedang District, West Java. It covers an area on several villages, which are: South Cikareo village, North Cikareo village, Sarimekar village, Tarikolot village, and Mulyajaya village. Those five villages are located on two subdistricts, which are Wado and Saritunggal.

The land mentioned above was formerly an erfpacht land of Dutch company plantation called NV Maatschappij Ter Exploitatie der Pamanoekan en Tjiasem Landen. After independence, the land status was changed into state land and has been cultivated by 400 households on 200 hectares of land.

In 1970, a conflict was arisen between the villagers, who has cultivated the land, with army retirement and regional government of Sumedang district, who wanted to control the land. The villagers then forced to be submitted by sharing the land area for the army retirement to be a local transmigration area for army retirement.

Learning from the incident, the villagers then initiated to struggle for their legal right over the land that they have cultivated since the beginning. They have already undergone the process, and then began with united in an organization called Sumedang Populist Peasant Union (STKS) in 1998.

There were some efforts they have taken in the struggle which were ended on dead end. Sumedang regional government and National Land Agency (BPN) of Sumedang have not yet responded their requests. They told them to disband STKS instead.

In 2011, the villagers requested National Land Agency to implement land redistribution in Wado District. However, up until today it has not yet been responded. KPA urges Sumedang regional government and BPN to immediately implement redistribute the land that has been cultivated by the people on the area. It was in accordance to the Government Regulation No. 224 of 1961 on land distribution and compensation deliverance.

To be continued. . .

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