What a Lot of Plans

Our government has never been as busy – at least on the drawing board. There’s a dizzying array of projects lined up to bring this island into a new era of development and tourism.

That’s the plan anyway. Whether anything will come out of these large-scale projects remains to be seen with our own eyes.

Governor I Made Mangku Pastika, who appears to be gearing up to run for a second term, has done much already for the people of Bali. Among his biggest achievements is the commendable Bali Mandara healthcare system that provides free treatment to those who cannot afford it.

Perhaps engendered – emboldened, even – by his successes and the public’s fond recognition of his work, the governor has over recent months rolled out a collection of high-value projects that are projected to combat a variety of problems.

Even the governor’s high-wire act has been accepted, with the announcement this week by PLN chief Dahlan Iskan that the “Bali Crossing” – a series of pylons carrying power lines over the sea from Java to Bali – is going ahead and work is set to start later this year, with a targeted 2013 completion date.

Meanwhile, an underpass in Kuta is to relive chronic traffic congestion; a new airport in the north will bring balance to the tourist divide and relieve pressure on the south; an over-sea toll road is projected to shorten journey times; and the governor’s pet island-wide railway project will provide a whole new experience to visitors (and residents).

And if that’s not enough, Bali is destined to become an “economic corridor,” according to Governor Pastika, a sort of gateway to other regions of the country, including the underdeveloped east.

All of these heady developments are, we are told, part of the central government’s nationwide development plan. But they will be laudable only if they come to fruition, when the perilously short lead time would appear to suggest otherwise.

Still, if we get only half of what’s promised, we’ll be doing well.

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