Trans-Papua Highway Plan to be Resurrected

KOTA JAYAPURA - Newly appointed Papua Governor Lukas Enembe says he plans to restart a neglected seven-year-old project to build highways across Papua.

“I will ask the President to resume the construction project in the hope that the whole island can be connected,” Lukas said in Jayapura on Monday.

The roads would connect seven strategic regions, namely Nabire–Waghete–Enarotali (262 kilometers); Timika–Mapurujaya–Pomako (42 km); Serui–Menawi–Saubeba (49 km); Jayapura–Wamena–Mulia (733 km); Jayapura–Sarmi (364 km); Jayapura–Hamidi–Holtekamp–Skow–Papua New Guinea border (53 km), and Merauke–Waropko (557 km).

He predicted that the construction of the roads connecting these regions would significantly reduce logistics costs and would, thus, spur regional economic growth.

“Right now, the cost of one sack of cement in Puncak Jaya is Rp 1.2 million (US$123) as all construction materials have to be transported by air, and the costs for that are expensive. If these roads are built, costs can be slashed,” he said.

By way of comparison, in Jakarta and other big cities, the price of one sack of cement is around Rp 80,000.

In 2012, the Public Works Ministry allocated Rp 3.6 trillion to build the Trans-Papua Highway, a project included in the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development (MP3EI). The government aims to build 70 percent of a total 3,100 kilometers of national road in Papua and West Papua by 2014.

Another matter of concern voiced by Lukas was the management of special autonomy funds. So far, the distribution of special autonomy funds has been regulated through a gubernatorial decree, according to which 60 percent of the funds are managed by the respective regency and municipal administrations across the province, and 40 percent by the provincial administration.

“The regulation will be revised so that 20 percent of special autonomy funds will be managed by the provincial administration and 80 percent by the regency and municipal administrations,” added Lukas.

Papua is made up of 29 regencies, one municipality and 419 districts. From 2002 to 2013, the central government channeled Rp 38 billion in special autonomy funds to Papua.

On Feb. 14, the Papua General Elections Commission (KPUD) announced that Lukas and his running mate, Klemen had been elected as Papua governor and deputy governor for 2013-2015. They defeated five other candidate pairs.

Lukas and Klemen, who were supported by a Democratic Party-led coalition, won 1.19 million votes or 52 percent of the total vote, which numbered 2.71 million ballots.

Lukas has pledged to alleviate poverty, negligence, isolation and injustice through Law No. 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for the Papua Province. [TheJakartaPost]
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