Fri, 09 Aug 2002

Prices in Papua shock Garin

JAKARTA: Coming back from a recent visit to Irian Jaya, the renowned Jakarta-based film-maker Garin Nugroho complained about the high cost of living in the eastern-most province.

A non star-rated hotel costs Rp 350,000 (about US$35) per night. To hire a Kijang van costs about the same amount of money per day. The high prices apply to almost all commodities from food to motorbikes as transportation costs of those goods from the island of Java are expensive.

What's was more shocking to him was the low income of the common people whose lives are mostly dependent on subsistence agriculture.

"Can't the government do something about this? This is the source of the locals' resentment for the central government. Unless this inequality is addressed the resentment will stay," says Garin who is preparing to make a film on Papua.--JP