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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        15  April 2011

Jakarta airport railway work to start

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The Indonesian government’s plans for a railway link between Jakarta’s main airport and the capital are emerging, including two connecting routes that will also be built.

The first route will connect Manggarai and Tangerang in the west before proceeding northbound to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, with construction of the line expected to start this year. The other route will stretch from Manggarai to Pluit in the north before going westward to the airport.

“The two routes will form a circle,” Mustafa Abubakar, the state enterprises minister, said after a meeting on transportation projects in Jakarta on Thursday.

The government has appointed state railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia and state airport operator Angkasa Pura II to work on the first route. The two state firms have formed a joint venture, called Railink Indonesia, for the project.

Transportation Minister Freddy Numberi said Railink had performed a feasibility study for the Manggarai route, which led the government to grant the project to the state companies.

Construction of the railway’s first route will cost approximately Rp 2.27 trillion ($261 million), Mustafa said, with Rp 2 trillion of the cost coming from the state budget because it is a government infrastructure project.

“Land acquisition for the first route is much easier than the route through Pluit,” he said. “The provincial governments of Jakarta and Banten are actively helping us.”

Land acquisition has proven to be a thorn in the side of government and private sector attempts to improve Indonesia’s infrastructure. Local media reports have suggested that the government has set aside Rp 450 billion solely for land acquisition in the railway project.

An established rail route running westward from Manggarai to Tangerang already exists. The route is surrounded by a number of densely populated areas, including Meruya, Ciledug and Cikokol, and the government plans to make use of that stretch of railway in the project.

Because the project came about through a direct appointment instead of a tender process, Mustafa said the plan would require a legal framework from either a decree or an instruction issued by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The project’s other route, which will pass through Angke and Pluit on the way to the airport, is more complicated.

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