Riza Roidila Mufti and Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – A "soft groundbreaking" and early construction on Indonesia's new capital city in East Kalimantan may take place in July, the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) announced on Wednesday.
The central government is expediting the establishment of regulations and a master plan for the new capital, which will be built in North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies, East Kalimantan.
The soft groundbreaking will take place as soon as the regulations are established, according to Bappenas capital relocation secretary Hayu Prasasti.
"A soft groundbreaking means the [start of] developing road access to the new capital city," she said.
The event would be line with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's expectation for construction of the new capital to begin this year, she added.
Responding to concerns over the potentially harmful impacts the major project would have on the region's lush forests, Hayu said the new capital would only occupy 56,000 hectares of the available 256,000 ha of land.
The rest of the region will remain populated with lush vegetation in order to avoid any negative effects on the environment, she added. "The 'forest city, open space' concept is an integral part [of the new capital's development]."
Construction on Indonesia's new capital city is expected to cost Rp 466 trillion (US$33.6 billion), according to Bappenas, with the government footing about half of the bill. The rest is to be sourced from the private sector. (rfa)