Railways can solve Papua`s transportation problems

Railways can solve Papua`s transportation problems

Map of transportation in Papua. (kemenhub.go.id)

We hope the railway line, which has been planned since a long time ..."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Railways are considered to be the most economical and efficient means to solve the transportation problems in Indonesias easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The people in the two provinces have, for several years, relied on sea and air transport, and they now need overland transportation, such as train service for them to travel from one district to another.

Railway systems are the backbone of transportation globally as they provide fast, high capacity, safe, and punctual transportation with good environmental performance and energy efficiency.

In light of this, the people of Papua and West Papua have expressed hope that the plan to build a railway system there would be implemented immediately.

Karlos Dorowe, a West Papua youth leader, remarked in Sorong on Monday that the railway project could be realized during the administration of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

"We hope the railway line, which has been planned since a long time, would be realized during the present government of President Jokowi and Vice President Kalla," Dorowe stated.

He noted that the local community had long awaited the implementation of the railway project.

Dorowe affirmed that railways offer the right solution to solving the transportation problems in Papua and West Papua, which have so far relied solely on sea and air transport that are much more expensive, and only a few people from the high-income group could afford air transport.

"Land transportation facility is very limited to the urban areas. There are no roads connecting one district to another in the province," he pointed out.

He stated that the local people strongly supported the governments plan to build a rail transport facility to link Sorong in the western end to the West Papua provincial city of Manokwari.

According to Dorowe, the railway transport facility would help to boost the provinces economy.

"We are confident that both President Jokowi and Vice President Kalla would pay special attention to the development in West Papua," he affirmed.

West Papua Transportation and Communication Department spokesman Bambang Heriawan Soesanto said in Manokwari early in December 2015 that the master plan of a railway project in the province was expected to be completed immediately.

"The railway system should be available soon as this program is important for large-scale economic development in West Papua," Soesanto remarked.

He stated that the consulting and technical teams from the West Papua Department of Transportation and Communication had been on the field to survey, assess, and seek inputs on the districts and cities that will be covered by the railway network.

Soesanto stated that the construction of a railway network in West Papua is a great program with a long-term vision.

He believes that the existence of a railway network in West Papua will be able to improve effectiveness and efficiency in the distribution of mining, agricultural, and plantation commodities to support the regional economy.

"With the existence of a railway network, oil, gas, minerals, coal, and agricultural and other natural resources can be distributed more quickly and at relatively low costs," he pointed out.

He expressed hope that the people and all public elements in the area would support the railway network, which has been launched by the central government.

President Joko Widodo has indicated that construction of the project would start in 2016.

"The government would likely start construction of railway track in Papua from Sorong in 2016," the president said during a visit to Sorong on the eve of the new year.

He pledged that all districts in West Papua would be connected with railway tracks in 2018.

"I hope the feasibility study of the project would be wrapped up in the last quarter of 2015 and work would start to build the facility in 2016," Jokowi said some time ago last September.

Development of the railway transport facility in Papua is aimed at underscoring that the government wants to bring prosperity to all regions in the country.

"We do not want to hear people saying that the government is interested only in developing Java," Jokowi said when inaugurating the ground breaking ceremony of the LRT Indonesia at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah last September.

Besides railway project in Papua, the central government also expected that the construction work of Trans Kalimantan railway line would be completed in 2020.

"The construction of the railway line connecting all regions of Kalimantan is part of the central governments program and is funded by the state budget. We in the region are only facilitating and supporting its implementation," Mahmud Syamsul Hadi, a spokesman of the East Kalimantan transportation office, stated in Samarinda, recently.

Currently, the feasibility study is ongoing, and the environmental impact assessment will be carried out in 2016.

A feasibility study is being conducted on the 89-kilometer-long Balikpapan-Samarinda line.

The actual construction work will be carried out from 2018 until 2020, with funding allocated from the state budget through a multi-year pattern.