"We are discussing it. The project has to proceed," Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government has assured it will go ahead with its plan to construct the Sunda Strait Bridge (JSS) while the relevant parties are still discussing it, according to Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto.

"We are discussing it. The project has to proceed," the minister said after opening a national construction service forum and construction exhibition Indonesia 2012 here on Wednesday.

The minister made the remarks in reply to a reporter`s question regarding the progress of the JSS project which was expected to cost Rp100 trillion.

"The initiator of the project is now preparing its feasibility study. It would be better if it is carried out by Indonesian experts. At least it is under the leadership of Indonesians. It can actually use foreign experts but I would be happy if it is coordinated by Indonesians. I believe that among the millions of Indonesian citizens there must be ones who can perform the jobs," the minister said.

It was earlier said that the continuation of the JSS project was not yet clear and its concept was still on the desk of the Team of Seven.

"The project`s concept is still in the hands of the Team of Seven. Six of the team members have agreed to it but one of them has not yet said it is OK," Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said recently.

He said that there were a lot of considerations that had to be made before the project was carried out but protracted discussions would not help increase smoothness of the logistics distribution and transportation in the country.

"I imagine that if there is disturbance no matter how small it is at Merak port in the coming 10 to 15 years it would cause a long tailback that could reach 10 km or even reach Jakarta," he said.

Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo, one of the Team of Seven members, has written to the public works minister suggesting that the feasibility study and design of the JSS project be financed by the state budget, not by the initiator, or the private sector.

The consortium which initiated the construction of the bridge has as its members the Arth Graha Group, the Banten regional government and the Lampung regional government using PT Graha Banten Lampung Sejahtera as its name.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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