Wed, 15 Jan 2003

City Council approves 2003 development plan

Ahmad Junaidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city council approved on Tuesday the 2003 Development Plan to prioritize tackling various problems, including traffic jams, floods, slum areas and street vendors, this year.

According to the plan, approved by the Council's 11 factions, the administration would develop more flyovers and underpasses to ease traffic congestion.

Among the projects are underpasses in Senen, Central Jakarta, and Cawang, East Jakarta.

The controversial busway project was also mentioned as a way to solve the traffic chaos.

Many observers have said the Rp 90 billion busway project would only add to the congestion, while a number of underpass of flyover projects already underway are well behind schedule and have added to the mess.

The plan sets out appropriating land for the east flood canal and beginning construction of the Rp 7 trillion canal this year in an effort to reduce floods.

Besides constructing the canal, the city will also repair drains, dredge the city's 13 rivers and purchase water pumps.

To manage slum areas in the city, the administration would build several low-cost apartments in Rorotan in North Jakarta, Cawang in East Jakarta and Tebet in South Jakarta.

The administration would also continue the development of similar apartments in Kebon Jahe in Central Jakarta, and Penjaringan in North Jakarta.

The plan, passed into law, did not mention the value of the projects as details would be outlined in the 2003 City Budget, which was officially submitted by Governor Sutiyoso on Tuesday evening.

The Rp 11 trillion budget is scheduled to be approved by the council on Jan. 31.

According to the bylaw, the administration would also develop several forests in the city, including in Kampung Sawah in West Jakarta and Srengseng in South Jakarta.

It stated that the administration would also continue its cooperation with the Bekasi municipality in managing Jakarta's main garbage dump in Bantar Gebang, Bekasi.

But the bylaw did not mention the administration's earlier plan to cooperate with foreign investors to build garbage processing plants to turn the city's garbage into fertilizer.

The administration earlier announced that the investors had postponed the plan due to terrorist threats after the Bali bombing tragedy on Oct. 12 last year.

The investors from Canada and China had planned to build two processing plants in West Jakarta and North Jakarta earlier this year.

The bylaw also said that to improve the city's security and public order, the administration would purchase equipment for its City Public Order officers this year and City Transportation officers.

It does not specify the equipment, but it might be tear gas and pistols worth a total of Rp 40 billion, as reported earlier.

Observers earlier criticized the administration for allocating Rp 136 billion in the 2003 budget proposal for the City Public Order Agency.

They also questioned the allocation of Rp 26 billion to the poor, just 0.2 percent of the total budget.

The agency is infamous for its evictions of disadvantaged people, including street traders, the poor living on riverbanks and pedicab drivers.