05 March 2007

Eviction 'policy' left in the past

Millions of miles away between Jakarta and Bangkok (6)

DIFFERENT from Bangkok, Jakarta has no alternative in solving the problem of slum areas but simply evicting them away. In fact, in the 1960s Jakarta had developed a kind of program similar to Baan Mankong, i.e. the Kampung Improvement Program (KIP). This program was once very popular worldwide. Even Somsook Boonyabancha, the director of CODI, the government’s body running the Baan Mankong program, admits that the program is actually a lesson learned from the practice conducted by the Jakarta administration. Ironically Jakarta has left it in the past.

The contrary takes place in Bangkok, instead. For Bangkok administration, eviction ‘policy’ has been left behind. Evictions mostly took place during 1960s-1970s, when the city renovation was more understood as destroying old houses replaced by sky-scrappers constructions. At the period eviction was the only solution against slum areas. At the end of 1970s the community renovation programs were introduced in Bangkok and in 1973 the Thai government made the housing problem tackling as a national agenda with the setting up of the National Housing Authority (NHA). Only in 1977 Thai government for the first time applied the community renovation program.

However, although Bangkok takes the policy of resoting to eviction as the last option, land commercialization waves have made Bangkok unable to fully avoid evictions. You can imagine that land rent prices for the communities cost the yearly average of 20 Baht (±0.6$US) a meter square. In fact, if the same plot of land be rented for commercial purposes the price increases 18 times upto 375 Baht (±11.27$US) per sq meter yearly. Even though, there is still a clear difference between Jakarta and Bangkok when each takes the eviction options. For instance in compensating the damages, community leaders, NGO activists, and academicians admit there is a clear standard of 10,000 Baht (±300$US) each living place.

The difference between Jakarta and Bangkok
in their policy on dealing with slum areas:
Click the table to see it bigger.

Even before last minute of taking decision to evict slum areas, the executors provide the compensated land in advance. Eviction that aims at providing space of public infrastructural constructions, the financial compensation may reach about $US 10,000. The amount of the compensation depends on the length of the negotiation. If the eviction executors want that the identified people leave the areas, the executors will pay higher sum of money. On the contrary, if the evictors do not agree with paying higher price, they will agree the people to stay longer. See my table above explaining the comparison between both cities.*

Photo caption: A public meeting at Kratum Diew community in Bangkok, January 2007

See previous stories:
Millions of miles away between Jakarta and Bangkok (5)
Millions of miles away between Jakarta and Bangkok (4)
Millions of miles away between Jakarta and Bangkok (3)
Millions of miles away between Jakarta and Bangkok (2)
Millions of miles away between Jakarta and Bangkok (1)

Read the Indonesian version.

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