Tue, 16 Dec 2003

Special unit proposed for East Flood Canal project

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Jakarta Public Works Agency has proposed the establishment of an independent project management unit to handle the Rp 5 trillion (US$588.24 million) East Flood Canal project to stop the flooding that regularly affects 25 percent of Jakarta's 650- square-kilometer area.

Head of the agency, IGKG Suena, said over the weekend that the proposal had been submitted to Governor Sutiyoso and is being discussed at the Jakarta Development Planning Agency (Bappeda).

"We hope that by establishing the unit to focus on the development of the East Flood Canal project, it will be capable of being speeded up," he said, adding that the management unit would be established next year, if the proposal is approved.

According to Suena, this would allow the agency to concentrate on other important projects, including road construction to overcome traffic problems in the city after the canal project had been taken over by an independent unit.

He expressed the hope that the unit would also handle the management of the East Flood Canal after the project was completed. The canal has been designed to host the city's first river transportation project while the banks along the canal will be designated as new economic growth areas.

The East Flood Canal, a joint project between the city administration and the central government, will be 23 kilometers long while it will be between 100 meters and 300 meters wide.

The administration has allocated some Rp 2.47 trillion to acquire 400 hectares of land while the government has provided some Rp 2.527 trillion for the construction of the project.

Suena said that the project could be finished within two years as long as it is properly funded.

"The money for land acquisition should not only come from the city budget but also from loans from other financial institutions," he said.

He claimed that the Ministry of Settlements and Regional Infrastructure had ensured that the government could provide whatever funding was needed for the construction of the canal.

So far, the administration had only been able to clear some 30 hectares of land, which was mostly located in the north of the city because land prices were lower there than in other areas.

The administration expects to acquire 40 hectares of land next year with Rp 150 billion being allocated for this from the 2004 city budget. Suena argued that the budget had been estimated based on land prices of up to Rp 500,000 per square meter.

"The land acquisition process must be finished by 2006 if we want to complete the construction of the canal by 2007. If the city can only provide some Rp 200 billion per year, some additional financial back-up will have to be found," he said.

The East Flood Canal and the existing West Flood Canal will create a semicircular canal that will take water from 13 major rivers that originate in the highlands of West Java and which flow through the city.

The existing West Flood Canal, which is 14 kilometers long and runs from Manggarai in South Jakarta to Penjaringan district in North Jakarta, was constructed in 1924 by the Netherlands Indies government.

The East Flood canal will start in Cipinang in East Jakarta and end in Marunda in North Jakarta. It was designed by Netherlands Engineering Consultants (Nedeco) in 1973.