Thursday 24 August 2017

Indonesia considers moving sinking, traffic-choked capital of 13 million

A traffic jam in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Jakarta Post
A traffic jam in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Jakarta Post

Nicola Smith Jakarta

Plans are afoot to relocate the capital of Indonesia, as a drastic solution to reports that the sprawling metropolis of Jakarta, already plagued by traffic jams, is also sinking.

The mega-city of 13 million is located on Indonesia's central island of Java, which hosts almost 60pc of the nation's population of 257 million, making it the most populated island on Earth.

The 'Australian' newspaper first reported that plans to uproot the capital were being considered to avoid total traffic gridlock by 2020.

The 'Sydney Morning Herald' added that President Joko Widodo had asked the National Development Planning Agency to carry out a feasibility study on possible locations, citing Palangkaraya on the island of Borneo as a possible option.

Debate about relocating the capital has frequently resurfaced since it was first mooted by president Suharto in 1957, in what was believed to be a move to cut ties with Jakarta's Dutch colonial past.

The city's problems have since become more practical and less ideological, with reports that areas of north Jakarta are sinking at a rate of 25cm a year.

Planners are said to be looking at two options. Either to only move the administrative part of the city, similar to Malaysia's solution of shifting its federal institutions out of Kuala Lumpur to the planned city of Putrajaya, or to move the entire capital itself.

"The intention behind it is understandable," said Rainer Heufers of the Centre for Indonesian Policy Studies, "...thinking about moving is one thing, doing it and getting the funds is a second".

Irish Independent

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