Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - The East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) National Road Implementation Center (BPJN) has said that the 179-kilometer Red Belt Road is connecting isolated areas on the Indonesia-Timor Leste border, such as Belu and Malaka Districts.

"The Red Belt Road access that has been completed opens access to isolated areas and connects eight sub-districts and 32 villages directly bordering Timor Leste," BPJN NTT commitment-making officer (CMO), Zaulkifli Arif, informed in Belu on Monday.

There are approximately six sub-districts and 27 villages in Belu district, which borders Timor Leste, he explained.

Meanwhile, there are two sub-districts and five villages that are a part of Malaka district, which directly borders Timor Leste.

The Red Belt Road in Indonesia's eastern sector border stretches from north to south and encompasses two districts, Belu and Malaka.

Arif said that the construction cost of the Red Belt Road, which has 40 bridges, has reached Rp1.6 trillion (US$107 million).

An ANTARA reporter who visited the hot mix asphalt road walked on green hills flanking the road.

However, there were some paths that were damaged by landslides due to bad weather, such as high rainfall, that has occurred in recent years.

According to Arif, there are approximately 20 landslide-affected points that need repairs.

Yosep Pau Iki, one of the residents of Maudemik Village, South Lamaknen, said he had resided in the village for 70 years and felt grateful because he could finally use a paved road.

"Thank you, because this way we feel that we have reached independence," he said and expressed the hope that electricity development would also be carried out in the village.

Another resident, Stanilaus Nahak, lauded the government's efforts to build a road near the country's border.

The Red Belt Road will support the local economy, especially Malaka residents carrying out trade in Atambua City, he said.

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Translator: Kornelis K, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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