Government Dismisses Idea of Moving Capital City

JAKARTA

The government indicates it is not in favor of moving the capital city from Jakarta saying it opts for seeking to prevent the city’s almost annual flooding.

Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said here President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has hinted no interest in moving the capital city. Yudhoyono instead ordered for the improvement of the drainage system to prevent a repeat of last week’s devastating floods, Julian said.

The authorities said more than n 20 people died as a result of the floods on Thursday and Friday that put a big part of Jakarta submerged under flood water paralyzing economic activities.

The president also calls for active participation of the people to keep the environment clean and stop the habit of throwing garbage to rivers.

“We prioritize steps to prevent a repeat of this year floods in the future. We need support from the people such as in greater discipline to throw garbage in disposal place,” Julian quoted the president as saying.

Yudhoyono, when visiting flood victims in their temporary shelters in East Jakarta, passed order for the repair of infrastructure and improvement of drainage system to protect the city from floods in the future.

Floods have hit the country every year, but the one that put almost all the city below water was a repeat of a five year cycle.

Western part of the city has always been the hardest hit with the western Jakarta canal overloaded .

The president said the excess of water from the western Jakarta canal should be channeled to the eastern canal with a flood way.

The public works ministry has been ordered to immediately carried it out the order this year, Julian said.

The president also ordered revitalization and normalization of the Ciliwung river the culprit causing Jakarta languishing over the past week.

The flood, however, was caused not only by the river overflowing its banks or heavy rain, but the people are to blame for a big part by throwing garbage to the river clogging the water, Julian said

“Normalization of the Ciliwung river needs comprehensive handling to make the river to function properly,” he said.

Discussion, therefore, has been made by the central government officials and the city administration , he added.

“I can assure you there is no proposal (among the government agencies) yet suggesting the urgency of moving the capital city,” he told reporters.

Earlier, former Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the idea to move the seat of government from Jakarta should not be made a priority at present.

Kalla said the cost is too high and it is complicated as changing the capital city will means moving all city’s civil servants.

“More important and pressing is to improve the infrastructure to prevent floods in Jakarta,” he said on Friday.

Chairman of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) Irman Gusman earlier strongly suggested the need to move the seat of government from Jakarta.

The problem of Jakarta is not only annual flooding but the city has been known for its notorious traffic jams every day, Irman said.

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