Sat, 05 Apr 2003

Tangerang dreams of traveling by riverboat

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang, Banten

The Cisadane River, which winds through several districts in the regency and municipality of Tangerang, has a potential to be developed as a tourist attraction. With its traditional-style homes built along the sides of the river, it would appeal to tourists interested in learning about the city's history.

The problem is that there is no modern form of transportation available for traveling down the river and enjoying the sights.

"If the regency and the municipal administrations were to jointly built a river transportation system along the Cisadane River, I believe that Tangerang would attract both domestic and foreign tourists," Andree Somanegara, a photographer for a local newspaper, told The Jakarta Post.

He said that if many local residents and tourists were to travel along the river, factories would think twice about disposing of their waste in it, especially during the day.

The Cisadane River has become severely polluted with industrial waste because of poor law enforcement by both the regency and mayoralty administrations.

Lia, a student at a private computer informative management college in Tangerang, said that the establishment of river transportation along the river might ease traffic congestion in the city.

"It would mean an end to getting stuck in traffic jams every day. It would also be very nice to travel by boat along the river," she said.

But the question remains: Would it be possible for the Cisadane River to have river transportation like Amsterdam or Venice?

Felix Mulyawan, an official at the municipality's Transportation and Communication Agency said that it was possible, but not easy.

"The Cisadane River is not as wide as the rivers in Kalimantan. The wake from passing boats would eventually erode either side of the riverbanks," he said.

However, he said, establishing a transportation system along the river was not out of the question. Areas along the riverbanks, such as Serpong, Karawaci, Cikokol, Kebon Nanas, Grendeng and Pasar Baru, could be developed as possible terminals.

The Cisadane River has long been used for transportation by locals. Residents can still be seen using their traditional boats.

Tangerang Mayor Moch. Thamrin said that he hoped private investors would be willing to develop a transportation system along the river.

"The problem is that the administration has no funds for developing a transportation system along the river," he said.

The former Tangerang regent, Agus Djunara, said that so far, there had been four local investors who have filed proposals for its development. "The administration is still studying their proposals and chances for other investors are still open," the former regent, who left office on March 22, said recently.