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Sutiyoso: Huge funds needed to free Jakarta from floods JAKARTA - The capital will never be free from floods unless it has a drainage canal at the city's east and west border areas to facilitate drainage to the sea, Governor Sutiyoso said. The only other option to escape being annually inundated during the rainy season is to move the city from the current location, the governor said on Tuesday. "Those are the only choices, both of which are impossible for us (to realize) at the moment," he said. According to the retired three-star general, the situation was mainly due to the fact that many buildings and houses had been constructed on land that is lower than sea level. "About 40 percent of the land in the capital is below sea level. So, it would require a huge amount of money to free Jakarta of floods," Sutiyoso said.

"Actually, we have had the master plan of the canals since 1975, but due to budget problems we could not build them. All we can do now is merely the Rescue Program to keep as many people as possible away from the flood prone areas," he added. Under the program, the city administration is assisting people living on the Ciliwung riverbanks to move to a better location nearby.

The program is expected to return the Ciliwung river to its original width of 60 meters from the current average width of 15 meters, Sutiyoso said. "The city administration would provide the land while the Ministry of Settlement and Regional Infrastructure will construct the low-cost apartment building for riverbank people.

"The team will be formed to implement the plan as soon as possible," Sutiyoso said. However, the governor did not mention the time frame for the project. "I already met with Minister of Settlement and Regional Infrastructure Erna Witular on the issue and I can see that the central government is committed to the project," he said.

Separately, the City Planning Agency chief Ahmaddin Ahmad said to build the canals the city at least needs funds equal to four times the current nine-month city budget of Rp 4.05 trillion (US$450 million). "We already have a master plan from Dutch consultants ... and the canals,if we could build them, can be used for tourism and transportation," Ahmaddin said.

From the flood master plan, the eastern canal will be built starting fromKali Malang river area to the east through Duren Sawit area and straight north to the Marunda coastal area. The western canal would be constructed beginning from Grogol to Cengkareng and Kalideres area. "Most of the land plotted for the project has already been acquired for the canals. Only a few locations remain to be purchased.

But, temporarily, we cannot continue with the plan for lack of funds," Ahmaddin said. He suggested the project could be continued in stages through cooperationbetween the city administration and central government. "But the city administration and the government have not made the projecta priority because they must address many other more important issues," Ahmaddin said.



Posted in Flooding @ 28 September 2000 16:45 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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