Illustrative photo. (Source: EPA)
Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo has asked for the application of more drastic measures on companies involving in forest fires in the country, including the withdrawal of their permits, from 2017.

Speaking at a national meeting on solutions to forest fire risk in 2017, President Widodo clarified that authorities will not apply warning any more, but freeze or revoke licences of violated companies if necessary.

In 2015, Indonesia withdrew the licences of three companies that caused large-scale fires, while suspending 16 and warning 115 others.

The President also requested authorised agencies to strictly handle lawsuits related to forest fires and asked law enforcement forces to immediately implement sentences applied to those connected to the fires after receiving the court’s judgments.

He also urged State agencies to restore fired areas, while asking for close coordination of central and local governments, police and armed forces to make forecast of forest fire risks in the year.

In 2015, forest fires in Indonesia caused a loss of nearly 220,000 rupiah (about 16.4 billion USD), affecting many localities in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Smoke and fog caused by the fires also hindered economic activities in the localities as well as air quality of neighbouring countries, including Singapore and Malaysia.-VNA