HULU LANGAT: The Selangor Forestry Department has issued a two-week stop work order to contractors involved in a Tenaga Nasional (TNB) project at the Hulu Langat forest reserve.
Director Mohd Puad Dahalan said during a site visit that while the department had given approval for TNB to put up pylons, it was previously unaware that a 60 metre-wide access road was built for the project and also other problems that were plaguing the residents of Kampung Ulu Perdik.
The TNB project, which is now 70% completed, calls for the clearing of trees that would surround the pylons. The work was carried out by contractors approved by the department.
The contractors also had to clear a part of the forest to allow access roads to be built.
Residents complained that the road had trespassed on private land belonging to the owners of an eco-resort in the area.
The owners, Trevor and Sarah (not their real names), said they were disappointed with the lack of information, and were concerned about the environmental consequences.
TNB representatives who were present at the site visit said discussions were carried out but only with the Kajang city council.
“This is not supposed to happen, there is no such thing as a 60 metre-wide access road,” said Puad, adding that the department’s staff would be monitoring the project on a daily basis.
Puad, however, said the Selangor Forestry Department were not directly responsible for any trespass of private property, despite approving the contractors beforehand.
He explained that prior to any logging activity, the contractors must agree to various guidelines, as underlined by the forestry department.
“It is the contractor’s responsibility. If we find they have breached the agreement, we will take immediate action,” he said.
Residents also complained that the river had been murky following the clearing of trees for the project.
“We haven’t had proper water supply from the pipes since 2002,” a villager said. Since then, they have been harvesting fresh water from the river.
It was reported that the river started to turn murky two weeks ago.
It is believed that the declining water quality is due to the silt following the clearing of trees.
Puad assured the residents that the problem would be given priority.
He also said that a task force would be set up to address these concerns and liaise with the residents directly.
“It is not too late to remedy the situation,” he said.
TNB had also agreed to increase engagement with the residents.
Hulu Langat is the closest forest reserve to Kuala Lumpur. It is home to many villagers and endangered wildlife. It is also a bustling centre for eco-tourism.