IPOH: The state government has no intention to destroy the mangrove trees planted by villagers near Sungai Segari, says Datuk Saarani Mohamad.
The Perak Mentri Besar and chairman of Perak State Agriculture Development Corporation (SADC) suggested a new place for the planting project to continue.
He said the aquaculture farm project being developed at Sungai Segari, Manjung has actually been approved since last year.
“In December last year, we appointed nine companies to set up aquaculture farms at our land in Sungai Segari.
“To set up the farm, they need to clear the area. It was only then that these companies noticed that mangrove trees were planted by Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) and nearby villagers,” he told reporters after visiting the site on Sunday (Jan 31).
Read also: Prawn farm site in Sg Segari approved for development, says Perak MB
Saarani said the 121.4ha site was given by the state government to SADC in 2019.
“There are several procedures we went through to get the approval for the project. Related agencies such as the agriculture department and drainage and irrigation department will provide their view and opinions first.
“From there, the land office will proceed to get approval from the state committee chairman.
“Since we were granted the land and paid the premium, we have decided to rent the site to companies to set up prawn farms, ” he said.
On Saturday, Kuasa and villagers at Sungai Segari expressed their shock and disappointment after a large excavator was seen destroying about 7,000 newly planted mangrove trees.
“I would like to thank Kuasa and their environmentalist friends for their efforts in planting the trees. I understand their action, but the land belongs to SADC.
“We would like to propose the idea of planting the trees at the beach that is located at least 100m from the sea. SADC would be glad to help and contribute to their project, ” Saarani said.
He added that SADC would be working with the villagers to plant some mangrove trees between the new prawn farms and the river.
“The villagers suggest that some mangrove trees need to be planted between the farm and the buffer zone to the river as a landmark to ensure that the farm would not violate the zone.
“It is a good idea and we will help them. If the farms violated the buffer zone, we will ask them to stop operating immediately, ” he said.
Meanwhile when contacted Perak Environmental Department director, Rosli Zul said the department will visit the site the latest by Tuesday (Feb 2).
“If the farms are proven to violate any environmental rules, we will open an investigation paper, ” he said.