Fri, 01 Dec 2000

PT Sampoerna to renovate Hotel Indonesia traffic circle

JAKARTA (JP): People, including street protesters, will see a new look fountain at the famous Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta following the announcement of PT Sampoerna, a giant cigarette producer, of its plan to undertake a massive renovation worth Rp 3.7 billion (US$393,615).

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, City Parks Agency head Dadang Ruskandar said that Governor Sutiyoso has given the green light for the renovation work, which is expected to start early next year and be completed shortly before next year's Jakarta anniversary on June 21.

"The fountain is already too old and many of the waterspouts are broken. We are also going to improve the fountain technology so as to beautify the site, which is the center of the capital," Dadang said after a meeting with the governor.

Over the past three years, the traffic circle, with the Selamat Datang (Welcome) monument in the center, has become one of the most popular places for many people, including street protesters, political party supporters and NGO members, to hold rallies or give voice to their demands. Some people have even broken the waterspouts and lamps, and climbed to the top of the monument in the center of the traffic circle during such demonstrations.

"Don't worry, people can still stage rallies at the traffic circle," Dadang remarked.

According to the plan, the fountain would have five types of waterspout and be decked out in colorful lights, Dadang said.

During the meeting with Sutiyoso, the governor asked him only to carefully study the terms of the agreement so as to avoid the possibility of his administration violating the prevailing regulations, he added.

"The governor told me to study the relevant regulations first because the city administration will allow the company to place its logo (in the form of capital A) at the center of the traffic circle.

If it is not against any regulations, we will go ahead with the plan as soon as possible," Dadang said.

Under the plan, PT Sampoerna would be allowed to light up the company's logo for 15 minutes every night.

"Every night, a big capital A will be illuminated at the fountain," he added.

The fountain was constructed in 1959 as the then president Sukarno wanted to beautify the city ahead of the 1962 Asian Games.

According to Dadang, his office has also made offers to other private companies to finance the renovation and maintenance of the city's other fountains, such as those located in the Monas (National Monument) park in Central Jakarta and Senayan Square in South Jakarta.

"This is in line with our project to privatize the maintenance of parks across the capital so that my office can focus on planting trees in slum areas of the city," Dadang said.

The City Parks Agency spends some Rp 11.6 billion per year on park maintenance.

Jakarta used to be home to 529 parks covering an area of 177.29 square kilometers. Currently, it only has some 220 parks remaining as more than 300 former parks have already been converted to other uses, such as trading sites, fuel stations, community centers and police posts. (dja)