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Indonesia to move capital due to overpopulation, excess floods in Jakarta


ANI Asia
Indonesia is planning to move its capital away from Jakarta, the country's planning ministry said on Monday.
Incumbent President Joko Widodo's government plans to establish a new centre of government to ensure more equitable development of the country amid environmental concerns and overcrowding issues, The Jakarta Post reported.
Indonesia's National Development Planning Agency, also known as Bappenas, presented its initial study on the relocation plan during a Cabinet meeting led by Widodo earlier today, where the top executives discussed alternatives to establish a new political hub somewhere else on the South Asian archipelago.
"The President has decided in the meeting to move the capital outside Java," Bambang Brodjonegoro, Bappenas' head, was quoted as saying in a press conference after the meeting on Monday.
Bappenas presented three alternatives.
The first was to keep Jakarta as the capital but establish a government district centred around the Presidential Palace and the National Monument to improve efficiency, while the second option was to establish a new capital located 50 to 70 kilometres outside of Jakarta.
However, Bambang said neither of the two options would address the issue of overpopulation in Jakarta, which is home to 57 per cent of the roughly 260 million people of the current capital.
Therefore, Widodo presented for a third option, whereby the capital status would be conferred upon a city outside Java, preferably located in the centre of Indonesia, in order to represent fairness and to speed up development throughout eastern Indonesia.
"We want to have a capital that represents the nation's identity and improves the efficiency of the central government and establish a smart, green and beautiful city," Bambang said.
"The capital relocation must serve the strategic vision of our long-term development agenda," he added.
The new location is not yet known, however, the Widodo-led government aims to form a centre of government similar to Washington D.C. in a new city, leaving Jakarta as the business, trade and financial hub, similar to New York in the United States.
The World Bank, in one of its reports cited by the Russian Times, noted that half of flood-prone Jakarta is below sea level and it continues to sink at an alarming rate. The capital could probably be 40 to 60 centimetres lower in 2025 than it was in 2008. In that case, such sinkage would allow the sea to enter as far as the Presidential Palace, which is located some five kilometres inland.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 1:53 AM IST

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