Thursday, February 14, 2013

Relocating Jakarta

By Chris Ong

Talks about relocating Jakarta, the capital of Indonesian, have been on-going for more than 50 years. The recent flood that is happening in Jakarta had just ignited the debate once again. Jakarta is increasingly under strain from intense activities and the effects of climate change, the government are having talks to either relocate the capital or moving the seats of the government.

Typical traffic in Jakarta
Pluit had been hardest hit by the recent flooding in Jakarta in January 2013. The fate of Pluit hangs on the system of dams, embankments, and water pumps. So, what exactly caused the devastating flood in Pluit? Yes, the heavy rainfall can be the "scapegoat" for the series unfortunate events, but it should not be the only reason why this is happening.

The flood waters had difficulties in subsiding as geographically speaking, Pluit is already 2 meters under the sea level. Furthermore, it had been backed by studies that the land in Jakarta was settling on an average of 1.6 meters from 2000-2010. The dams and pumps failed to work as it should when the water gushed in at twice the pumping speed has caused huge devastation and fatalities. Many analysts are taking this as a final wakeup call to the politicians as put forth in the Jakarta Post 2013 Jan 26 “Relocation of capital from Jakarta: No pain, no gain” 

Floods in the heart of Jakarta

They say action speaks louder than words, which is always true, talks and plans about flood controlling have been always floating around since 1960s, but only a few manage to materialize to help control the flooding in Jakarta. The most successful one that was implemented is the building of the East Flood Canal (KBT). This 25 km canal which traverses 11 sub-districts in East Jakarta and 2 in North Jakarta helped to reduce the flooding area by a huge 90%. Sadly, at the same time, there were talks about building more Dams and merging rivers upstream that were vaporized without a trace. So what could be done if the flooding cannot be stopped? Discussion about relocating the whole capital eventually emerged. Today, flooding is not the only problem that Jakarta faces, the rising population is another vital issue that needs to be tackled and dealt with care.


Palangkaraya
There are a few proposed sites that are in consideration, the earliest one would be Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. Largely due to the fact that is safer from the danger of earthquakes and Volcanoes. To support this idea, many iconic buildings were built to reflect the idea of Great Indonesia.

Banjarmasin
Located closer to the centre of the country, Banjarmasin would be another choice in the list. This area was considered due to the fact that it has better access to the Java Sea and also has a better infrastructure.

Jonggol
Among all the potential areas for relocation, Jonggol, West Java, was dubbed as the most realistic option to move the capital city, Jonggol has become a planned future capital of Indonesia since the era of Soeharto presidency.

Anything that could ease the congestion in Jakarta would be a blessing, but this could only means the huge amount of investments that is needed to fund this major overhaul. The choice of location can also lead to questions over government policy, and spur regional jealousies in a country composed of many different ethnic groups and religions. Eventually, these moves are typically driven by political rather than economic considerations.

No matter the decision- what and WHEN, the team here at TPM, would like to send our blessing to the people who are affected by the recent floods in Jakarta.

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