President indicates railway construction to start this year in Papua

Sorong, W Papua (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said the government will likely start construction of railway track in Papua from Sorong this year.

"Yesterday I just opened new railway track in Sulawesi. Papua will follow," the president told the local people in a meeting in the Kais district of Sorong Selatan regency, West Papua on Friday.

Earlier the president hoped the process of feasibility study of the project would be wrapped up in a year, but apparently more time is needed.

"It does not matter. What is important is the track would be built as expected. Most likely work would start from Sorong," the president said.

He pledged that all regencies in Papua would be connected with railway track in 2018.

The head of state had visited a number of districts in Papua including Merauke, Wamena, Nduga, Timika, Rajaampat and Sorong during his stay for four days in the region.

In Sorong, the president and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo visited a sago processing factory of the state-owned forestry company Perum Perhutani in the District of Kais.

Construction of the factory began in 2013 and was completed toward the end of December, 2015. It is to be fully operational in three months.

The factory, built at a cost of Rp150 billion, has a production capacity of 100 tons of sago flour per day.

Sago is a staple food for the people of Papua.(*)