Wed, 10 Aug 1994

Eight government universities make transmigration studies

JAKARTA (JP): Eight government universities have agreed to conduct a number of studies for the Ministry of Transmigration to find ways of improving the living conditions of settlers.

The agreement was signed yesterday by the Director General of Housing and Environment Widarbo for the Ministry and the rectors of the eight colleges: Bandung Institute of Technology, the Bogor Agricultural University, the Surabaya November 10 Institute of Technology, the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, the Padjadjaran University in Bandung, the March 11 State University in Surakarta, the General Soedirman University in Purwokerto and the Hasanudin University in Ujungpandang.

The universities and their research agencies will conduct studies in the areas of road and bridge engineering, housing construction, applicative farming models, post-harvesting methods for crops and applicative, effective and low-cost technology for the new areas.

Minister of Transmigration Siswono Yudohusodo, who attended the signing ceremony, said the resettlement program is aimed at spreading out the uneven distribution of Indonesia's population and labor and strengthening national security and unity.

Under the transmigration program, the government has already built 1.7 million houses, 21 ports, 49,000 kilometers of roads, 76,000 meters of bridges and thousands of places of worships, community health centers, schools and towns to serve the needs of settlers, he said.

He admitted however there was still much to be done.

"Many of the housing units are too isolated and too small. They are often unreachable due to poor infrastructure," Siswono said.

Other resettlement areas face clean water shortages and some have been affected by an outbreak various diseases such as malaria, he added.

Nonetheless, transmigration is necessary since every year about 40,000 hectares of farming land on Java island is lost to make way for residential and other purposes, he said. (pwn)