Lombok. The euphoria of the 2021 World Superbike at the Mandalika Circuit is widely heard. But the loud motor exhausts have blocked out the voices of the 48 families of Bunut (Ebunut) Hamlet, Kuta Village, Central Lombok, who live in the center of the track.
To get to the hamlet, residents can access the two tunnels on the side of the circuit. Bunut Hamlet is just on the right side of corners 5, 6, 7, and 8. When the race took place on November 19-21, the committee gave the hamlet residents special bracelets for in-and-out access.
“It was hard to go home. The security guard gave us a suspicious look,” Bunut Hamlet resident Imran said on Monday.
Despite living just by the bustling circuit, the residents could not enjoy the motorcycle racing event as much as the tourists.
The adult residents might find watching the race from outside the guardrail to be quite fun. But all the loud motorcycle noise could disturb the younger ones’ sleep and study time. Residents also have to cope with a lack of clean water access. Not to mention the poor drainage in this rainy season.
West Nusa Tenggara Police Chief Inspector General M Iqbal ensured that the Mandalika land and building compensation issues had been resolved.
“It has been cleared [land and building compensation issues]. It became the success factor of the WSBK event. Residents also enjoy and are grateful for this world-class event,” Iqbal said.
According to Imran, the Bunut Hamlet residents are ready to leave if the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) pays for the agreed land and building compensation. Both parties have agreed on Rp 75 million (about $5,213) per acre or 100 square meters, excluding the replacement of the residents’ productive plants.
But one day, a person —claiming to be an ITDC representative— came and offered a compensation of Rp 130 million per family, according to Imran. Him and other Bunut Hamlet residents had to decline, considering how it was very different from the initial offer.
"If we want to protest, we can burn trash during the race, or throw something in the center of the circuit, or destroy some facilities. But we (the residents) agreed not to do it," Imran said.
Residents even tied up their cattles to prevent them from grazing near the circuit. They had to look for grass at a hill far from home. Imran and fellow Bunut Hamlet residents hope the government repays the residents’ goodwill by paying the compensation as soon as possible.
"We helped the government yesterday, now it's the government's turn to help us", Imran said, while staring at the Mandalika Circuit, a silent witness to his life in the center of a racing track.
Earlier, State-Owned Enterprise Minister Erick Thohir said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had instructed him to settle the Mandalika residents’ compensation issues.
"Mr. President asked me to settle it in one to two months. If God wills, we will solve it,” Erick said.