Indonesia to take action over forest fires

Jakarta, Sep 15 (IANS) The Indonesian government has initiated legal action against companies allegedly involved in causing forest fires in the country that have resulted in a haze enveloping Singapore and Malaysia, police said on Tuesday.

The action comes as Indonesia scrambles to fight the forest fires which often occur during the land clearing process for the opening of new plantations on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, Xinhua news agency reported.

Indonesian police has declared three big companies suspect in forest fire cases in South Sumatra province, said Yazid Fanani, director at the criminal investigation department of the national police.

The firms were accused of burning forests, but the police would further their investigations “based on the finding at the field and other analysis”, said Fanani at the police headquarters.

In an effort to stop the repeat of fires in the future, the police would deploy more investigators to the scene to boost law enforcement.

The Indonesian government has sought to punish perpetrators of forest fires, particularly companies which have caused choking haze in the region, disturbed flights and led to severe economic losses.

On Monday, 107 people were declared suspects in cases of land clearing and forest fires.

Indonesia has been battered by such forest fires since the 1990s, as the ensuing haze shrouded neighbouring ASEAN countries and caused huge economic losses.

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