Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan has said if the Giant Sea Wall was not built, it will adversely impact Jakarta in a significant manner with regards to salt water penetration.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - An ambitious plan to build a 24-kilometer long Giant Sea Wall will help prevent Jakarta from sinking below sea level, prevent salt water intrusion, and is also expected to be a source of raw water for the residents of the city.

The government has decided to allow work to continue on a key phase of the Giant Sea Wall, which aims to prevent the city from succumbing to rising sea levels and floods.

One of the worlds most densely populated cities, Jakarta sits on a swampy plain and is sinking at a faster rate than any other city in the world.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan has said if the Giant Sea Wall was not built, it will adversely impact Jakarta in a significant manner with regards to salt water penetration.

Therefore, the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), is finalizing a study of the Jakarta Giant Sea Wall project, called the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD).

Bappenas Chief Bambang Brodjonegoro stated here on Tuesday that the study was approaching the final stage, but he still wanted to meet with some of the experts who knew about the giant dike.

The Bappenas study in itself is very important because it will determine the design of the project, and the distance of the reclaimed islets from the mainland.

Later, the developers will be required to obtain an environmental permit by taking into account the sea dike.

The Bappenas had earlier set a target for the study on the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development project to be completed by the end October 2016, and will be submitted to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

Construction of the NCICD project will be carried out in three phases---phase A, phase B, and phase C.

Phase A will strengthen the system of the sea and the already existing river wall. The construction of this phase is to be completed in 2017.

Work on phase B will start in 2018 by building offshore walls on the western side of the Jakarta Bay and completed in 2025.

Construction of the project in phase C is to start after 2025 by building offshore sea walls on the eastern side of the Jakarta bay.

In the construction of phase B and phase C, 17 islets will be reclaimed.

Bappenas is concerned with studying the importance of the giant sea wall project for Jakarta.

Reclamation is already in progress in the Jakarta bay where 17 manmade islets were being built by big property companies.

Former Coordination Minister of Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli had earlier ordered to stop work at the project, but the then Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) had disputed the decision, resulting in a moratorium.

Later, a statement by Ramlis successor, Luhut Panjaitan, that work could continue on the Jakarta reclamation project drew strong protests from a group of people, including students and fishermen.

Defending the project, Ahok has said the reclamation project is the answer to Jakarta Bays pollution problem as the mega project would help deal with the problem of contaminated water and fix the environment of the capitals coastal areas.

The city administration had discussed the project with the director general for coastal and small islands at the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, Ahok claimed.

From the 17 planned small islands, eight have already acquired permits and begun construction.

Ahoks statement came in contrast with the views of environmental experts and activists who believe that the reclamation project threatens the Jakarta Bay environment.

Included in the master plan is the plan to build 17 artificial islands off Jakartas northern coast, where property developers plan to build shopping malls and attractions similar to Singapores Sentosa Island.

However, work on that project was suspended in April following disagreements between the government and the Jakarta governor over who had authority to issue permits.

Some fishermen have also protested against reclamation, saying it would reduce their catch.

In response, the government plans to offer them fishing permits in waters near the Natuna Islands.

The suspension in April also threatened to delay Indonesian property developer PT Agung Podomoro Lands multi-billion-dollar Pluit City, comprising apartments, offices and shopping malls on parts of artificial land it was constructing.

"We are still waiting for a direction from the government," said Justini Omas, the companys corporate secretary. Previously, the company had planned that construction of the island would be carried out in 2018.

Jakarta has been trying to clean up its flagging canal system for years, and the 24km-long seawall was meant to be the silver bullet to resolve its flooding woes.(*)

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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