Majority of respondents in survey happy with Murum relocation scheme

Tuesday October 16, 2012

KUCHING: Some 1,400 Penans and Kenyahs affected by the Murum hydroelectric dam project will be relocated to new longhouses, accommodating four to 10 households each, in Metalun and Tegulang resettlement villages.

The double-storey longhouses will be a hybrid construction of concrete and wood, and each household/unit is 7m in width and 11.2m in length.

Each unit will have three bedrooms, living and dining rooms, a bathroom and toilet as well as a firewood store.

There is a common verandah or ruai in each block and the brick partition walls will serve as firebreaks.

All the longhouse blocks in both schemes are arranged in horseshoe shape with loop roads connecting all the blocks and a mini-service centre to be equipped with education, health, agriculture and commercial facilities.

Community facilities like a multipurpose hall, kindergarten and chapel, will be built along the loop roads.

“The layout plan shall promote community integration,” according to details contained in the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) Reports for the Metalun and Tegulang resettlement schemes produced by the state Planning Unit.

Copies of the report are on display until Nov 9 at the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) headquarters here and in Sibu and Bintulu, Environment Department office here, the State Library, Resident’s Offices in Bintulu and Kapit and Belaga district offices.

The public may review the report and forward written comments to NREB before Nov 24.

The proposed Metalun resettlement scheme, about 46km upstream of Murum dam, is to cater for four Penan resettlements — Long Singu (67 households), Long Luar (52), Long Menapa (42) and Long Tangau (31).

To be relocated to Tegulang scheme are two Penan settlements — Long Wat (89 households) and Long Malim (54) — and Kenyahs from Kenyah Badeng settlement (18), also in Long Malim.

The report said a social survey on 42 respondents from 183 households revealed that 85.8% of them were satisfied with the Metalun resettlement site and were looking forward to move there.

The remaining 14.2% were not sure given the current situation where a large area of Metalun had been cleared and cultivated with oil palm.

The cleared areas will result in low number of wild animals and forest resources that could be found there.

For the Tegulang resettlement scheme, 87% of the respondents interviewed were pleased with the choice of the site.

In terms of their expectation, 26% of the Metalun respondents are anticipating that their new longhouses would be of good quality, better than the longhouses in Sungai Asap resettlement scheme built for villagers displaced by Bakun hydro dam.

Construction of the longhouses, internal roads and community facilities are on-going, and these should be ready by the end of the year according to the implementation timetable.

The 944MW Murum dam is sche-duled for completion early next year, with impoundment and flooding of the reservoir expected to commence in May.

The 146m-high roller compacted concrete dam will have a reservoir with a surface area of 245sq km.

The report said each resettled family is expected to be given about 15ha of land for farming and crop cultivation.

One of the demands from the affected Penan community is that the new sites are readily prepared and that all the agricultural areas are planted and ready to produce before they are asked to relocate there.


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