GORONTALO, Indonesia — Merlin Tahir says she doesn’t like to dwell on how much money her family lost after they were forced in 2014 to give up their land for a road project in Gorontalo province on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. The mother of two found out suddenly that nearly 4,400 square meters (1.1 acres) of family land here in the hills of Damatai village, around 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Gorontalo’s provincial capital, would be signed over to the state to construct the road. Merlin had built three henhouses, where around 6,000 chickens laid enough eggs to generate 4 million to 5 million rupiah ($275-$345) every day. But the government offered the family a total of 52 million rupiah ($3,600) for the entire plot — less than a fortnight’s sales. Merlin had valued the land at 1.5 million rupiah ($104) per square meter; the state offered just 45,000 rupiah, about $3 a square meter. “I did not accept it,” she told Mongabay Indonesia. The chicken houses were valued at 2 million rupiah ($138), but Merlin said that amount wasn’t even enough to buy the nails to build a replacement. Land and houses of residents affected by the construction of the Gorontalo ring road project. Compensation was paid to 1,184 households, but many complain the payments are too low. Image by Sarjan Lahay/Mongabay Indonesia. President Joko Widodo was elected in 2014 in part based on a campaign promise to raise Indonesia’s infrastructure spending from historically low levels. From 2014 to…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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