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The Complete Story of Kedung Ombo: From the Invisible Kingdom to the Eviction of Citizens

A dark story from the Overturned Boat incident in Kedung Ombo Boyolali has reminded us of the dark history of the origin of the construction of the Kedung Ombo Reservoir.

Yesterday a boat ridden by a dozen tourists at Wadung Kedung Ombo in Dukuh Bulu, Wonoharjo Village, Kemusu District, Boyolali Regency, last Saturday (15/5/2021).

Our memory during the New Order era, President Soeharto about the agrarian conflict that occurred in Kedung Ombo, became one of a series of conflicts that occurred during the New Order regime in power.

Residents who are victims of eviction and do not receive compensation as they should. When they refused compensation, repressive strategies were applied.

Darei residents who refused to be labeled as former political prisoners in the PKI case and their children were threatened with the same action.

Not only that, the regime at that time forced residents to leave their hometowns. This authoritarian policy finally left grief, residents who were relocated
to the outer islands live in poverty, as well as residents who still insist on living around the reservoir.
The tragedy of the boat overturned at the Kedung Ombo Reservoir, Boyolali, Central Java, killing some of the passengers and even more astonishing the boat captain who is known to be 13 years old.

"The captain of the boat on behalf of GH's initials is 13 years old," said Boyolali Police Chief, AKBP Morry Ermond while inspecting the evacuation at the reservoir in Dukuh Bulu, Wonoharjo Village, Kemusu District, Boyolali Regency Saturday (15/5/2021).

When the incident happened, GH was about to take 20 passengers to a floating food stall which is 50 meters from the mainland.

At around 11.00 WIB, the boat had approached the floating food stall but a passenger suddenly walked to the front deck.

"There are passengers who want to take selfies on the front deck, so the boat swerves to the right and capsizes," said Morry.

Unfortunately, at the time of the incident, Morry revealed that safety equipment had not been installed on the bodies of the passengers.

"Every operator actually has to have a buoy. At the time of the incident, they did not use safety equipment," he said.
The video recording of the reversal of the boat and dozens of passengers asking for help went viral, Saturday (15/5/2021).

Some of the passengers on the overturned boat were trying to swim and hold on to the overturned body of the boat.

When I first started studying the Kedung Ombo demo, it really hit my ears. The Kedung Ombo case is an incident of refusal to evict and relocate the settlement location by residents because the land will be used as the Kedungombo Reservoir. The residents' refusal was due to the small amount of compensation given.

It is said that as reported by Wikipedia, in 1985 the government planned to build a new reservoir in Central Java for a 22.5 megawatt electric power plant that could accommodate water for the needs of 70 hectares of surrounding rice fields.

This reservoir is called the Kedung Ombo Reservoir. The construction of the Kedung Ombo Reservoir was financed by USD 156 million from the World Bank, USD 25.2 million from the Exim Bank of Japan, and the National Budget, starting from 1985 to 1989.

The reservoir started to be watered on January 14, 1989. Submerged 37 villages, 7 sub-districts in 3 districts, namely Sragen, Boyolali, Grobogan.
A total of 5268 families lost their land as a result of the construction of this reservoir.

When most of the residents had left their village, there were still 600 families who still survived because the compensation they received was very small.

Minister of Home Affairs Soeparjo Rustam stated that the compensation was Rp. 3,000, - / m², while residents were forced to accept Rp. 250, - / m². The survivors also experienced terror, intimidation and physical violence as a result of their resistance to the project.

The government forced residents to move by continuing to irrigate the location, as a result, residents who survived were forced to live in the middle of a puddle of water.
In the past, Romo Mangun with Romo Sandyawan and K.H. Hammam Ja'far, caretaker of the Pebelan Islamic boarding school in Magelang, assisted the residents who were still on the site, and built an emergency school for around 3500 children, as well as building facilities such as rafts to transport residents, some of which have turned into lakes.

This reservoir was finally inaugurated by President Soeharto, on May 18, 1991, and residents continued to struggle to claim their rights to adequate land compensation.

In 2001, the residents who were displaced demanded the Governor of Central Java to reopen the Kedung Ombo case and renegotiate land compensation.

However, the Provincial and Regency Governments insist that the land compensation issue has been resolved. The government has asked the local district court to withhold unpaid compensation money to 662 claimant families.

Kedung Ombo Reservoir is one of the reservoirs in Indonesia. The location of this reservoir is in three districts at once, namely Grobogan Regency, Sragen Regency, and Boyolali Regency.

Now the main building of the dam is on the border of Rambat and Juworo Villages, Geyer District, Grobogan Regency. Reporting from Grobogan.go.id, Kedung Ombo Reservoir is a tourist location that offers beautiful views.

In addition, this tourist spot provides motorboat services for visitors who wish to explore the reservoir. But behind its beauty, the construction of this reservoir keeps a 'tragic story'

Kedung Ombo Reservoir was built in 1980 and completed in 1991. Construction of the reservoir requires a large amount of funds and is then financed by the World Bank (USD 156 million), the Exim Bank of Japan (USD 25.2 million), and the State Budget.

After completion of construction, this reservoir began to be watered on January 14, 1989. In the end, this reservoir was inaugurated by President Soeharto on May 18, 1991.
So the Tourism Object Area

After being inaugurated by President Soeharto, the Kedung Ombo Reservoir area developed into a tourist attraction. In that area, many homestays were built which are integrated with the residents' houses. That way tourists can stay longer in the Kedung Ombo Reservoir area.

Reporting from Grobogan.go.id, the homestay allows tourists to have a close look at people's daily lives. In fact, they can also live a life like a local.

Agribusiness Area

Apart from the tourism sector, the area has also developed into an agribusiness area. There, the residents develop inland fishery businesses using the cage method. In addition, on the edge of the reservoir, residents are developing fruit and vegetable farming businesses.

From the fishery products there, residents have opened fishing businesses and food stalls selling processed fish-based foods such as grilled fish or fried fish, which invites the appetite of tourists.

Toxic Water Tragedy

In 2019, a toxic water tragedy occurred which caused tens of tons of fish belonging to keramba farmers in Kedung Ombo to suddenly die. Farmers call this strange phenomenon "upwelling". Reporting from Merdeka.com, upwelling is a phenomenon of temperature changes that occur rapidly under water.

According to Sajimin, one of the farmers in the Kedung Ombo cage, this phenomenon occurs when water from the bottom of the reservoir is white, suddenly rising to the surface. The water carries bacteria and fish food waste at the bottom to the surface. That's when the farmer's fish suddenly died of poisoning.

Mystical Story

However, everything in this country without being associated with the mystical world feels less than complete. It is said that there is this magical kingdom of Kedung Ombo Reservoir and it is no stranger to the people who live around the reservoir.

It is said that he is often used as a dumping ground for spirits, as reported by Solopos.com that the manager of the Instagram account @misterisolo, Saturday (24/10/2020), various kinds of spirits often roam in the location of this 6,576 hectare reservoir.

"This vast reservoir turns out to be one of the favorite places to dispose of spirits. Some are in the form of pesugihan genies, genie haunts worrying residents, to khodam from heirlooms," said the manager of the Instagram account @misterisolo.

It is said that the story is that this reservoir is guarded by a creature like buto with a red face wearing royal clothing. Unfortunately, this creature often asks for sacrifice by dragging the victim to the bottom of the reservoir which is said to have a magical kingdom.

This magical kingdom at the bottom of the Kedung Ombo Reservoir is what according to the circulating story it is led by the queen. He is known as a figure who maintains manners and manners.
 
 
 

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