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Indonesia to change capital to Borneo

Jojo Widodo announces the plan to change capital to Borneo
Jojo Widodo announces the plan to change capital to Borneo

The ambitious plan to change capital from Jakarta to Borneo comes amidst fears that the increasing sea level will render the city vulnerable.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has announced the plan to move the capital from Jakarta to Borneo. Widodo said that it is a necessary move as the burden on the current capital Jakarta is “too heavy”.

Apart from the pollution and traffic congestion, increasing sea levels have posed a threat to the coastal city of Jakarta. Further on, about 40 per cent of the city is now below water due to poor planning on land that was actually swamp. Some of the affected areas in Jakarta are sinking at the rate of 10-20cm per year, as per reports.

Meanwhile, the government has come up with a plan to avert the crisis. Widodo has expressed dissatisfaction with the slow progress of the project. “This huge project will need to be done quickly to prevent Jakarta from sinking under the sea,” Widodo had said last month.

If the plan is ratified, the construction on a plot of 40,000 hectares in Borneo will commence next year. The government will move civil servants to the new capital by 2024.

“The location is very strategic – it’s in the centre of Indonesia and close to urban areas,” the president said. “The burden Jakarta is holding right now is too heavy as the centre of governance, business, finance, trade and services,” he added.

Environmentalists have expressed concern at the location of the new capital which is home to tropical rainforests. They stated that the $33bn relocation needs to carefully executed or it could lead to another ecological disaster.

Meanwhile, the planning minister Bambang Brodjonegoro has responded to the concerns and said, “We will not disturb any existing protected forest, instead we will rehabilitate it.”