Jakarta governor Jokowi seeks advice from S’pore

By Sita W Dewi | Source: ANN

Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has consulted with the authorities in Singapore regarding the upcoming construction of mass rapid transit (MRT) in the Indonesian capital.

The governor, along with the assistant to the city secretary for development Wiriyatmoko, Jakarta Development Planning Agency (Bappeda) head Sarwo Handayani, and PT MRT Jakarta construction director Muhammad Nasir, went to Singapore over the weekend to meet with representatives of Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to talk about the latter’s experience in building and managing MRT, seeking some tips for the MRT construction project in Jakarta.

“We don’t have the experience and that’s why we will need assistance,” Jokowi said at City Hall on Monday.

“We went to Singapore to ask for several people from the Singaporean MRT to become our advisors as we will soon start the construction of the MRT project here, while Japan is giving assistance during the planning and construction phases.”

According to the governor, the documents regarding the MRT project would be completed within the next few weeks.

Bappeda head Sarwo Handayani said the city administration hoped that the MRT construction would not take too long. “[The Singaporean authority] shared its experience on how to complete the MRT construction in a short period of time,” she told The Jakarta Post.

Wiriyatmoko said that the entourage also visited an MRT station in Little India. “We wanted to look at how they developed an MRT station in Little India. We now have a picture of how to construct it while managing people’s activities around the construction spots,” he told the Post.

Wiriyatmoko acknowledged that the most challenging process would be managing traffic near the construction areas.

“Can you imagine building something underground while people are doing their activities above ground?” he said, adding the entourage had learned a lot about anticipating the construction’s impact during their discussion with the Singaporean representatives.

Wiriyatmoko added that their Singaporean counterparts also gave them advice on what they should and should not do during the construction.

“They advised us not to use materials made of polyvinyl chloride [PVC] underground as it would be harmful for people. When [PVC] burns, it will likely become toxic,” he said.

“They also told us not to build the turns too sharp because it might damage the train wheels.”

Jokowi has given PT MRT Jakarta a month to begin the MRT construction since the appointment of the company’s new directors on March 22.

The MRT is expected to become one of the solutions to resolve the capital’s frustrating gridlock.

The first MRT track, set to connect Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta and the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta, will have six underground stations, seven elevated stations and is planned to carry around 173,000 passengers per day.

The cost for the first phase of the 15.7-kilometre-long MRT will be partially funded with a 120 billion rupiah  (US$1.27 billion) soft loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The central government has agreed to repay 49 per cent of the loan, with the administration paying the rest.

*US$1=9,756 rupiah

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