Sanur to be pilot project for beggar-free area

Written by on June 22, 2012 in Bali Environment with 0 Comments

Sanur to be pilot project for beggar-free area

http://www.thejakartapost.com/bali-daily/2012-06-22/sanur-be-pilot-project-beggar-free-area.html

Sanur to be pilot project for beggar-free area

by Wasti Atmodjo on 2012-06-22

Favorite tourist resort, Sanur, has been chosen by the Denpasar municipal administration as the site for its pilot project for a beggar-and-street-vendor-free area, thanks to long-running efforts by the community.

Chairman of the Sanur Development Foundation (YPS), Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta Putra, said that efforts to clear beggars and street vendors from the area had been ongoing since 2000, as desired by every part of the local community.

“There were many beggars and street vendors operating in this area, which was not surprising considering that Sanur was a fast growing tourist region,” Sidharta said.

“They made us uncomfortable because there were many domestic and foreign tourists visiting the resort. We believed tourists also felt the same about their presence here.”

Sidharta said that this was the basis for a later agreement to make Sanur free from beggars and street vendors.

He stated his assurance that the agreement was not intended to make Sanur exclusive and closed to grassroots-level people, but rather to bring order to the region.

Sidharta said they had learned from a number of other destinations that had become less attractive, like Kintamani, because of the presence of beggars and street vendors.

“For years travel agents have been reluctant to bring tourists to the resort [Kintamani],” Sidharta said.

In fact, he added, Kintamani had been a main tourist destination. The presence of numerous beggars and street vendors freely swarming around made tourists uncomfortable and they complained. The same has happened in Kuta where many beggars are freely operating.

Through the agreement, according to Sidharta, the local community agreed to bring order to the region at their own expense.

To help YPS execute the program, each of the 27 banjar in the region sent 10 representatives, who were deployed as village security aids.

They initially worked in shifts, patrolling Sanur. If beggars or street vendors were found, they handed them over to the appropriate administrative institutions.

Sidharta also said that a Memorandum of Understanding had been made by YPS and the Denpasar municipal administration as a legal basis for the program.

He said there was initially resistance from the beggars and street vendors. “We understood they had someone behind them.”

Thanks to the solid implementation of the program, all the constraints were finally overcome. “Even up to the present, we still send officials out monitoring,” he said.

Separately the head of Denpasar municipal administration’s public relation division, Ida Bagus Rahoela, said that the administration had been receiving working visits from other regions to learn about tourism, including how to clear an area from beggars, street vendors and the like.

“We brought them directly to Sanur to let them learn directly from the local stakeholders, because we have made Sanur the pilot project for a beggar-free area,” said Rahoela, adding that the success in Sanur was due to the strong commitment of the local community.

The presence of beggars in a number of tourist destinations has been frequently criticized, by, among others, Ketut Ardana of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents Bali branch.

“If possible, Kuta and other tourist destinations in Badung should be cleared of beggars. They are disturbing,” he told a meeting with the Badung regent recently.

He called on local administrations to deal with the issue seriously before it became too complicated. “It’s possible that there will be a rapid increase in the future and they will become difficult to curb,” he said.

Badung Regent AA Gde Agung said in his response at the meeting that his administration had been continuously addressing the issue.

Quoting a report, he said that most of the beggars came from Karangasem. He also said that raids, supervision and sending them to their home villages did not stop them from coming back to Badung, although the administration had deployed officials originating from Karangasem to deal with them.

“This indeed needs an inter-regional effort involving the provincial administration,” he said.

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