President prioritizes infrastructure development in West Papua

Sorong, W Papua (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo has accorded priority to infrastructure development throughout the province of West Papua, Vice Governor of West Papua Irene Manibuy stated.

"The splendid Domine Eduard Osok airport is proof of the governments commitment to build infrastructure in West Papua," Irene Manibuy said here on Friday.

Manibuy remarked that the central government had taken up on priority the development of the region and improvement of facilities at Saigun airport, Weror Tambrauw airport, Marinda airport and Fakfak airport.

To implement the sea toll program, the central government has allocated budget to develop a container port in Sorong district. The project is to be implemented by PT Pelindo.

In addition, the government will build a railway network connecting six districts, namely, Sorong city, Sorong district, South Sorong district, Maybrat district, Bintuni Bay district, South Manokwari district and Manokwari district.

"The government is developing the Trans-West Papua Highway that links Sorong city to Manokwari district," Manibuy noted.

Meanwhile, the government has built micro-hydro power plants (PLTMH) with a large capacity in Tambrauw district.

Manibuy, representing West Papuas people, lauded President Joko Widodo for taking up infrastructure development in West Papua province on priority.

"President Jokowi has lived up to his promise. He prioritized infrastructure development in West Papua. The Domine Eduard Osok airport is matter of pride for Papuan people," he affirmed.

An Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) official had earlier stated that the infrastructure development and the connectivity between Papua and West Papua would go a long way in facilitating progress.

"The government should approach the people of Papua and West Papua and communicate to them the importance of infrastructure development and connectivity. Otherwise, they may reject the development and could then be seen as anti-government," Adriana Elisabeth, the Papua Study Team Coordinator at LIPI, remarked here on Monday.

Moreover, she noted that Papua was a conflict-prone region, and several remote villages were yet to be connected through means of land transportation.

Elisabeth underlined that infrastructure development and connectivity should not make the locals suspect the governments intentions who may think all this was solely intended to benefit Jakarta.

"There is need to preempt such suspicions about construction of roads in the interior areas. It should be explained to the local people that connectivity would help boost the economy of Papua and West Papua," she reminded.

According to Elisabeth, the Papuan people must be convinced that if connectivity improved, more investors would come to invest in Papua and West Papua, and it is the locals who will eventually stand to reap the benefits.(*)

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