Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Wednesday declared that the construction of Sepaku Semoi Dam and Mentawir Nursery in North Penajam Paser district, East Kalimantan, have marked the commencement of the new capital’s basic infrastructure development.

"The (construction of the) dam means that the development of basic infrastructure (for the new capital Nusantara) has been started. Next July, the construction of the main road from Balikpapan toll road will also commence," the President said during a visit to Sepaku Semoi Dam, according to a statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat.

The development of Mentawir Nursery has accentuated the environmental sustainability aspect of the new capital’s development, he added.

Jokowi then instructed the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, which has been tasked with overseeing the new capital’s development, to expedite the completion of Sepaku Semoi Dam earlier than scheduled.

The dam is expected to provide water to at least 1.5 million residents in the new capital, he noted.

"The water supplied (from the dam) will be ready-to-drink water," he added.

Minister of Public Works and Public Housing, Basuki Hadimuljono, reiterated that the dam will supply ready-to-drink water.

"If (the supplied water) is not potable, then our capital relocation will be meaningless," Hadimuljono remarked.

Responding to the President's request for accelerating the dam’s construction, the ministry's director general of water resources, Jarot Widyoko, affirmed the ministry's readiness to complete the dam by early 2023, much before the December 2023 deadline.

"By expediting (the construction process), we target the development to conclude by January or February 2023," Widyoko said.

Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR RI), Puan Maharani; Minister of State Secretariat, Pratikno; Minister of Investment/head of the Investment Coordinating Board, Bahlil Lahadalia; head of the Nusantara Capital Authority, Bambang Susantono; and the Governor of East Kalimantan accompanied the President to Sepaku Semoi Dam on Wednesday.

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Translator: Indra Arief P, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Suharto
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