Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Istiqlal Grand Mosque is under renovation in accordance with President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi's) instruction, and the work is expected to be completed in March 2020, Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono stated.

"In line with the instruction of President Jokowi, we have embarked on a major renovation of Istiqlal since May 2019," the minister remarked in a statement here on Monday.

The renovation work will cover the mosque's inner section and outer landscape whose open green area is to be expanded, from 29 percent to 35 percent of the total area.

The minister had paid a visit to Istiqlal Mosque, located in Central Jakarta, on Saturday to review the progress in the renovation.

Once the renovation is complete, the Istiqlal Mosque is expected to become the pride of not only Indonesian Muslims but also the nation, the minister emphasized.

The mosque will be equipped with a two-story parking area, with a capacity to accommodate some two thousand cars.

Offices and an Islamic education park, located in the basement, will also be renovated.

To expedite the renovation work, the number of construction workers has been increased, from some 200 to at least 400.

PT Waskita Karya is the executing contractor, and PT Virama Karya is the consultant for construction management.

The renovation contract is valued at Rp465.3 billion sourced from the 2019-2020 State Budget, with the number of working days reaching 300.

Measuring a total area of 109,547 square meters, the Istiqlal Grand Mosque building is 80,948 square meters large. It has a capacity to accommodate 200 thousand Muslim worshippers.

The foundation stone was laid by Indonesia's First President Sukarno on August 24, 1961, and the construction took 17 years. President Suharto inaugurated it as the national mosque on February 22, 1978.

Istiqlal, which means "Independence," is the biggest mosque in Southeast Asia and located near the Presidential Palace.

Related news: Vice President Jusuf Kalla attends Eid al-Adha prayers in Istiqlal Related news: Indonesia, Afghanistan share experiences in overcoming conflicts

Translator: M Razi Rahmad, Fardah
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti
Copyright © ANTARA 2019