East Kalimantan chief to halt capital project if forests harmed


  • Indonesia
  • Wednesday, 05 Feb 2020

Over yonder: Jokowi (left) accompanied by an official while visiting North Penajam Paser district in East Kalimantan where the government is set to build it’s new capital city in this file photo. — AFP

Jakarta: East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor has called on the central government to be more mindful of the lush forests covering parts of the province as Jakarta moves forward with its long-term plan to relocate the country’s capital city to the region.

Isran addressed his concerns over the environmental impact of the imminent relocation of the capital during a meeting with the Climate and Land Use Alliance at the East Kalimantan governor’s office in Samarinda on Monday.

“I will personally stop (the new capital construction) if it damages the forests,” he said after the meeting as quoted by kompas.com.

The environment is a vital component of the lives of East Kalimantan residents and therefore it has to be protected, he added.

“It’s better that the capital doesn’t end up being relocated to East Kalimantan if it only brings destruction to local forests,” Isran said, adding that the province had previously committed to protecting the environment in several international declarations, including the New Green Growth Pathway in 2016.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced in August last year that the province’s North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara regencies would host the country’s new capital, replacing the overpopulated and sinking Jakarta.

Kutai Kartanegara regency is home to a 61,850ha forest called Bukit Soeharto.

Through an agriculture ministerial decree, late former president Suharto named the location the Bukit Soeharto Conservation Forest, which then covered 27,000ha.

The government subsequently expanded the conservation area over the years until it covered 61,850ha in 2004, when Indonesia’s environment and forestry ministry deemed it the Bukit Soeharto Grand Forest Park. — The Jakarta Post/ANN
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