Indonesian government revealed that it is planning to move its capital city away from Jakarta. The new capital city will be built on the Island of Borneo. Currently, Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous city. Jakarta is home to around 10 million people. It is sinking at a very fast rate (approx.. 25 cm per year).
President Joko Widodo in a recent interview stated that he considers reallocation of the capital as “an important decision”.
Why change the capital?
Indonesians from the past decade have been discussing the relocation of the capital, the need became more pressing in recent years.
There are several reasons that are assumed to be behind the relocation of the capital city :
- Environmental Challenges
- Gridlocked Traffic
- Large population
- Rising Sea Water/ Sinking
- The great disparity between Java and other Indonesian islands in terms of economic and development
According to the survey conducted in 2016, Jakarta has the world’s worst traffic congestion.
Jakarta sits at the western end of Java, considered to be the world’s most populous island. Jakarta is home to around 10 million people. It is considered to be sinking at a very fast rate (approx. 25 cm per year).
The large populations started depleting groundwater reserves and constructing new skyscrapers at the same time. This thus leads to land subsidence and compression, forcing environmental experts to give warning statements: “a third of the city could be submerged by 2050”.
Jakarta is situated in an earthquake zone, on swamplands, and near the confluence of nearly 13 rivers. But perhaps the biggest issue is Jakarta is sinking at a very fast rate. According to the reports, two-fifth of the city now lies below sea level.
The New Capital
The new site surrounds a broad strip of forest known as the Bukit Soeharto conservation area that is home to numerous species but is also plagued by illegal logging. Construction of capital on the 450,000-acre site would start next year, and people would be allowed to move in the beginning in 2024.
By building a new capital in Borneo’s East Kalimantan province, Indonesia would be putting its capital closer to several neighbours. Most of the islands are Indonesian, but it’s also home to Brunei, and a chunk of its northern section is part of Malaysia.
Moving the capital out of Java would also send a powerful political message, regarding the government’s equitable effort to focus on developing Indonesia as a country.
Indonesia’s leaders also claimed that moving the capital to another island will help ease income disparity. Although the environmentalists fear that the new city could endanger Borneo’s tropical rainforests.
The task would neither be easy nor cheap. Indonesia isn’t the only country to move out of the capital. Other nations — including Bolivia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Myanmar — have done it in the past. The nations have a diverse degree of success. The whole process might cost about $33 billion. Widodo said, with the state funding about one-fifth and the rest to come from public-private partnerships and private investment.