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Fights, frustration mar fuel cash handouts JAKARTA - It was billed as a way to cushion the blow for Indonesia's poorest of the poor. But efforts to compensate 15.5 million families with cash to offset steep hikes in fuel prices have instead triggered violence. Angry mobs have trashed homes of local officials. Old people have died standing in queues and a woman committed suicide after hearing she was not poor enough to qualify.

"Some people are frustrated because they ... see their neighbors who have more money receiving the funds, so they become stressed and angry," Wardah Hafidz of the Urban Poor Consortium, a group fighting to eradicate poverty, told Reuters. "What they need is a long-term scheme that will give people a chance to acquire jobs, a place to stay and food."

The government increased the price of gasoline, diesel, and the kerosene poor Indonesians use for cooking by more than an average 100 percent on October 1 to cut crippling energy subsidies. It has set aside 4.65 trillion rupiah for compensation, giving the poorest families in the country 300,000 rupiah each to cover the next three months. Recipients must earn less than 175,000 rupiah a month to qualify.

But many residents erupted with anger after finding out they were not registered at village and district government offices or were ineligible when they lined up to collect the cash. This week, the Media Indonesia newspaper said angry residents in Central Java province alone had destroyed the homes of 143 village chiefs. Hundreds of residents went on a rampage in West Java's Indramayu district, destroying a village hall, it added.

In the Sumatran province of Jambi, a neighborhood unit head was stabbed to death by an aid recipient who claimed he had been extorted while an elderly woman jumped into a river near Yogyakarta to her death after failing to get cash, the Jakarta Post newspaper also reported. Last week, local media said three ailing elderly women died while queuing for cash.


Link to related event Related event:
Fuel price hike 1 October 2005

Related blog entries (category 'General') Related blog entries (category 'General'):
19 October 2005 · Violence mars fuel cash aid distribution
19 October 2005 · New fares scares taxi passengers and drivers
06 October 2005 · Oil price hike may increase inflation to 11 percent
13 September 2005 · Indonesia to pay fuel subsidies to poorest
12 September 2005 · Indonesia says to hike fuel prices in early October


Posted in General @ 26 October 2005 09:49 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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