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Indonesia speeds up capital city move

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JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday that he had ordered his Cabinet to speed up a US$32.79 billion project to move the capital city from Jakarta to Borneo island so that the new “Silicon Valley”-like city could be ready by 2023, a year earlier than the government’s original estimate.

VNA reported that Widodo, in a Facebook post, said the government would form a new agency to oversee the relocation project next month and it would then officially submit a bill backing the move to the parliament.

The leader expressed his hope that the whole process, including the grand design, can be completed in six months.

The next job will be land clearing and basic infrastructure construction, he said.

The 256,000ha site of the capital is on highland overseeing a bay, he said, noting government offices would begin to be built next year and should be ready by 2023.

He said he hopes that the new capital could be the next Silicon Valley due to a cluster of research and innovation facilities envisaged for the area.

The President announced in August the government intended to move the administrative capital to East Kalimantan province, on Borneo, by 2024 to relieve the heavy burden on the current capital Jakarta due to overcrowding and pollution.

Jakarta, the current capital of the world’s fourth-most populous country, on the island of Java, is now home to 10 million people and is sinking due to over-extraction of groundwater, as well as being prone to floods and traffic gridlock.

–BERNAMA

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