Papua`s railway development to start in second half of 2016

"The project will be started in the second half of 2016," President Jokowi said.
Teluk Wondama, W Papua (ANTARA News) - The work on the railway infrastructure project in Papua will begin in the second half of 2016, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) stated.

"The project will be started in the second half of 2016," President Jokowi remarked after inaugurating Wasior Port in Wondama Bay, West Papua, here on Tuesday.

The president called on the people of Papua to adopt a patient approach while awaiting the realization of the project.

In addition, the head of state pointed out that the establishment of Wasior Port would ensure better connectivity not just among the people but also the regions.

"The development will unite us from Aceh to Papua," the president affirmed.

The government has built 27 sea ports in 2015 and has set a target to build 68 sea ports this year.

"Currently, there are three routes, and their numbers are expected to increase following the development of the ports," the president stated.

The construction would improve the distribution of goods and the mobilization of people from one place to another, the president emphasized.

Earlier, Karlos Dorowe, a West Papua youth leader, had stated in Sorong on Monday that the railway project could be realized during the administration of President Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

"We hope the railway line, which has been planned since long, would be realized during the current 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 offered the right solution to solving the transportation problems in Papua and West Papua, which had, so far, relied solely on sea and air transport that were far expensive, and only a few people from the high-income group could afford air transport.

"Land transportation facilities are only 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.

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 was an effective 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.(*)