1) Railways can solve Papua`s transportation problems
Senin, 4 Januari 2016 18:50 WIB | 450 Views
Pewarta: Otniel Tamindael
Map of transportation in Papua. (kemenhub.go.id)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Railways are considered to be the most economical and efficient means to solve the transportation problems in Indonesias easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The people in the two provinces have, for several years, relied on sea and air transport, and they now need overland transportation, such as train service for them to travel from one district to another.
Railway systems are the backbone of transportation globally as they provide fast, high capacity, safe, and punctual transportation with good environmental performance and energy efficiency.
In light of this, the people of Papua and West Papua have expressed hope that the plan to build a railway system there would be implemented immediately.
Karlos Dorowe, a West Papua youth leader, remarked in Sorong on Monday that the railway project could be realized during the administration of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Vice President Jusuf Kalla.
"We hope the railway line, which has been planned since a long time, would be realized during the present government of President Jokowi and Vice President Kalla," Dorowe stated.
He noted that the local community had long awaited the implementation of the railway project.
Dorowe affirmed that railways offer the right solution to solving the transportation problems in Papua and West Papua, which have so far relied solely on sea and air transport that are much more expensive, and only a few people from the high-income group could afford air transport.
"Land transportation facility is very limited to the urban areas. There are no roads connecting one district to another in the province," he pointed out.
He stated that the local people strongly supported the governments plan to build a rail transport facility to link Sorong in the western end to the West Papua provincial city of Manokwari.
According to Dorowe, the railway transport facility would help to boost the provinces economy.
"We are confident that both President Jokowi and Vice President Kalla would pay special attention to the development in West Papua," he affirmed.
West Papua Transportation and Communication Department spokesman Bambang Heriawan Soesanto said in Manokwari early in December 2015 that the master plan of a railway project in the province was expected to be completed immediately.
"The railway system should be available soon as this program is important for large-scale economic development in West Papua," Soesanto remarked.
He stated that the consulting and technical teams from the West Papua Department of Transportation and Communication had been on the field to survey, assess, and seek inputs on the districts and cities that will be covered by the railway network.
Soesanto stated that the construction of a railway network in West Papua is a great program with a long-term vision.
He believes that the existence of a railway network in West Papua will be able to improve effectiveness and efficiency in the distribution of mining, agricultural, and plantation commodities to support the regional economy.
"With the existence of a railway network, oil, gas, minerals, coal, and agricultural and other natural resources can be distributed more quickly and at relatively low costs," he pointed out.
He expressed hope that the people and all public elements in the area would support the railway network, which has been launched by the central government.
President Joko Widodo has indicated that construction of the project would start in 2016.
"The government would likely start construction of railway track in Papua from Sorong in 2016," the president said during a visit to Sorong on the eve of the new year.
He pledged that all districts in West Papua would be connected with railway tracks in 2018.
"I hope the feasibility study of the project would be wrapped up in the last quarter of 2015 and work would start to build the facility in 2016," Jokowi said some time ago last September.
Development of the railway transport facility in Papua is aimed at underscoring that the government wants to bring prosperity to all regions in the country.
"We do not want to hear people saying that the government is interested only in developing Java," Jokowi said when inaugurating the ground breaking ceremony of the LRT Indonesia at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah last September.
Besides railway project in Papua, the central government also expected that the construction work of Trans Kalimantan railway line would be completed in 2020.
"The construction of the railway line connecting all regions of Kalimantan is part of the central governments program and is funded by the state budget. We in the region are only facilitating and supporting its implementation," Mahmud Syamsul Hadi, a spokesman of the East Kalimantan transportation office, stated in Samarinda, recently.
Currently, the feasibility study is ongoing, and the environmental impact assessment will be carried out in 2016.
A feasibility study is being conducted on the 89-kilometer-long Balikpapan-Samarinda line.
The actual construction work will be carried out from 2018 until 2020, with funding allocated from the state budget through a multi-year pattern. (Uu.O001/INE/KR-BSR)
2) Stunning Raja Ampat to be proposed as touristic province
Sabtu, 2 Januari 2016 05:50 WIB | 888 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The stunning natural beauty of Raja Ampat isles located in the northwestern tip of the Indonesian province of West Papua, has started to attract domestic and foreign tourists.
Lured by this beauty of Raja Ampat, President Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana spent the last day of 2015 and the first day of 2016 there.
They preferred to spend their time in the lap of nature, free from the cacophony of the city and pollution as they welcomed the new year.
On the New Years Eve, Jokowi, as the president is popularly called, accompanied by Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, Head of the Presidential Office Staff Teten Masduki and West Papua Governor Abraham Octavianus Atururi, was on the Waisai beach, Raja Ampat District.
The next morning, Jokowi and Iriana visited Pianemu Bay in the same district to enjoy the amazing natural scenery that combines crystal-clear sea waters and hundreds of isles as well as hills covered by green vegetation and virgin forests.
The head of state and his entourage departed from Waiwo Pier in Waisai Sub-district aboard a speedboat on a 1.5 hour long ride.
After arriving in Pianemu, Jokowi scaled 300 steps to reach a hilltop to witness the string of green isles scattered across the bays clear waters.
Raja Ampat, which literally means "Four Kings," is located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the worlds coral reef biodiversity.
The seas around Raja Ampat Isles are home to the richest varieties of species in the world, including 75 percent of all known coral species.
The Raja Ampat archipelago encompasses 15 thousand square miles of land and sea. There are around 1.8 thousand isles in Raja Ampat District.
Its four major islands --- Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool --- shelter a vast array of terrestrial species and valuable forests.
The region includes the Pacifics most important Leatherback Turtle nesting site, the Nature Conservancy writes on its website.
Offshore reefs protect some 1,427 species of fish and more than 550 species of coral.
Some of these reefs have proven to be particularly resilient, and include coral-building resources that help sustain the entire Coral Triangle.
The central government has designated Raja Ampat as one of Indonesias new 10 top tourist destinations, apart from the most famous Bali Island.
President Jokowi expressed his optimism that Indonesia would be able to achieve the target of attracting 20 million tourists by 2019.
He compared Indonesia to some neighboring countries having lesser tourist attractions but which could attract 24 million to 27 million tourists annually.
In 2013, Indonesia received 8.8 million tourists, and the number increased to 9.4 million in 2014. The government set a target of attracting 12 million tourists in 2015.
"We have 10 top tourist destinations. So under no circumstances is it possible that the target of achieving 20 million would be missed," President Jokowi said while enjoying his stay in Raja Ampat, on January 1, 2016.
"That is easy. Raja Ampat and Labuhan Bajo, with their Komodo dragons, are already well known. Their nature is unique, and while the forests there are not that vast, the vegetation is unique. Which country in the world has Komodo (but Indonesia)?" he pointed out.
He affirmed that airports, piers, and ships were needed to access Raja Ampat and Labuhan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
Ships are needed to access islands, otherwise the costs would be very high, he added.
However, Jokowi noted that a quota should be set on the number of tourists allowed to visit in order to protect the forests and seas from damage.
Considering the unexploited potential of Raja Ampat, the West Papua Provincial administration has planned to propose that the district may change its status and become a separate province that will be specially designated for tourism in Indonesia.
The West Papua Provincial administration will submit a proposal in this regard to the central government, Deputy Governor of West Papua Irene Manibui said recently.
The idea to turn it into a special tourism province was discussed by the West Papua authorities with members of the Commission II of the House of Representatives (DPR) in Sorong, West Papua, recently.
The legislators advised the West Papua authorities to submit the proposal to the Central Government.
They suggested that the Raja Ampat Islands District be developed into a new autonomous region with a special status.
"Like Batam Authorities, Kepra (Raja Ampat Islands) can be specially designed as a touristic province," the deputy governor stated.
The proposed tourism province will comprise 615 big and small islands, currently within the territories of the West Papua administration.
The West Papua authorities will also propose establishment of a new Southwest Papua province, the Manokwari municipality and some other districts.
She hoped that the government will realize 10 new autonomous regions in West Papua in early 2016 or by mid-year.(*)