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The problems in building Indonesia’s new capital never end

The problems in building Indonesia’s new capital never end

They resigned on Monday Without providing official explanations The two main leaders following the project to build the new Indonesian capital, Nusantara. Moving the capital from Jakarta to a central region of Borneo, which until a few years ago was entirely occupied by forests, is an ambitious plan by outgoing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, presented in 2019 and approved in 2022. The capital, Jakarta, is actually a city. With it a lot of problems: It is inhabited by 10 million people, is congested with traffic, is highly polluted, has no parks or cultural spaces and is exposed to frequent floods. The main problem is the sea level rises and the city sinks simultaneously: Jakarta’s soil is sinking in some areas of the city Up to 15 cm per year.

The resignation of the director and deputy director of the National Capital Authority in Nusantara, Bambang Susantono and Doni Rahajo, was interpreted as another sign of difficulties in the project, whose costs are estimated at more than 30 billion euros. The Indonesian state is funding 20% ​​of the work, but is struggling to find international investors.

According to plans, the new city is scheduled to open on August 17, the day Indonesia’s independence anniversary is celebrated. However, its construction will take a long time to be completed: according to the Indonesian government, it will be completed in 2045, the year of the centenary of the country’s independence from the Netherlands.

Nusantara road conditions in February 2024 (Image source: © NASA Earth/ZUMA Press Wire)

Indonesia decided to move its capital from the island of Java, its most important, richest and most influential island, in 2019. Work on building Nusantara began from scratch in 2022: the construction site of the new city is located in the eastern part of Kalimantan, the Indonesian Borneo region (Borneo is the large Asian island divided Its territory is between the states of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia). The government said in December that the city’s necessary infrastructure, such as roads, dams, bridges and government offices, had been completed. By 63 percentIts construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024.

The future city center when work begins (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

The first transfer of 12,000 public employees was supposed to take place in August, but was postponed for at least a month because the buildings in which they will live have not yet been completed. President Jokowi will arrive in Nusantara on Tuesday to open some schools and other works. In November 2023, the president landed for the first time at the new airport, built about 15 kilometers from the future city center: the government claims it will be fully operational within the year.

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Nusantara is a project that has strong support from Jokowi, whose second and final term as president ends in October. In March, former General Prabowo Subianto, the outgoing defense minister, was elected, with the support of Jokowi himself, as his successor. Subianto announced that he would continue the project in its original form.

However, in recent months several problems have emerged, especially regarding land status issues, which have slowed down business and raised many doubts among foreign investors, who are also concerned about managing the transition between the two. Presidents. Another issue concerns the ownership of the land on which the city will be built: it is currently owned by the state, which has not yet decided whether to lease it or sell it to individuals.

There is currently no official explanation for the resignation of two senior executives of the government company running the project, but the two concerned only denied that they had anything to do with the government’s dissatisfaction with the results obtained. They would then have chosen to leave the project of their own free will, which some observers find even more troubling.

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