Saturday, June 10, 2006

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

House of Representatives lawmakers are unhappy with the performance of the Aceh-Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (BRR).

In its single year of existence the BRR had done little to build much-needed infrastructure in Aceh and Nias, House Speaker Agung Laksono said.

"We are very disappointed (with the BRR) as we had imagined that brand-new cities would rise from the debris of regions hit by the tsunami. But this has not materialized," Agung said.

Agung said that in the two hardest-hit areas in Banda Aceh, Lampase and Uleuleu, conditions were virtually the same as they were days after the tidal wave struck on Dec 26, 2004.

"There is no city planning; everything is in chaos. The results don't match the excessive amounts of foreign aid that has poured in," he said.

Earlier this week during a visit to Aceh, Agung said he was concerned about the poor quality of houses the BRR built for tsunami survivors.

Many did not even have toilets, he said.

Responding to Agung's criticism, BRR chief Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said his agency would improve the quality of more than 41,000 houses scheduled to be built later this year.

The House called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla to summon BRR executives to account for their work.

The House, meanwhile, plans to summon 11 Cabinet ministers to question them on the reconstruction's progress.

Muhaimin Iskandar, who chairs the House monitoring team for the Aceh and Nias reconstruction, said a meeting with the ministers was scheduled for next week.

He said BRR executives could not argue that the need for consultation with locals had slowed the rebuilding process down because construction decisions had already been made and the Rp 1.52 trillion fund for the projects had been disbursed.

The BRR was established on April 16, 2005, for a four-year period.

The agency's stated mission is to restore and strengthen communities in Aceh and Nias by designing and overseeing a coordinated, community-driven reconstruction and development program, implemented according to the highest professional standards.


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