Windfall from Bakun

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Bakun Reservoir Project 02, which involves collecting logs and biomass waste, starts next weekBAKUN: Residents in the vicinity of Sungai Asap, Belaga, will enjoy significant benefits once the Bakun Reservoir Project 02 (BRP02) begins next week.

This project involves collecting and transferring logs and biomass waste which float in the Bakun Hydroelectric Dam catchment area.

Hulu Rejang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo said the duration of the contract is three years.

The local people hold 50 per cent of the share and the other 50 belongs to Wargana Consortium Sdn Bhd.

“Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd estimates that some 60,000 tonnes of floating wood need to be collected during the contract period,” said Billy who is also chairman of Wargana Consortium.

He was met yesterday at ‘Pelah Pelenyep Daleh’ an Orang Ulu ceremony organised by Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, Wargana Consortium Sdn Bhd and Sinaran Bakun (M) Bhd near dam.

Billy said in the meantime the collection of logs and floating biomass is affected by the water in the dam.

“When the water is low levels not much wood is collected. The work of collecting and transporting the wood is very important as it affects the sustainability and durability of the dam,” he said, adding that most of the floating timbers are from the forests and logging camps nearby.

“We provide the opportunities for the local people to get involved in the project by using their longboats,” he said.

He said some 17 boats belonging to the local people will be used in the project and if necessary the number will be increased.

He said it was the second such project. The first one was for the collection of biomass. It was completed in less than a year last year (2009).

According to him, the project covers an area of 50 kilometres.

“The catchment area needs to be free of the floating timbers and biomass which could hinder the passage of people using the lake and other activities of local residents,” he said.

General manager (special functions) of Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, Dato Sirajuddin Salleh; political secretary to chief minister, Ageline Umih Tujok; Temenggong Dato Sri Nyipa Batuk; and community leaders were among those present at the ceremony.