President Joko Widodo’s plans to develop infrastructure in far flung regions of the country has received a massive boost with the announcement of new rail initiative connecting Kalimantan.
The 2,428 kilometre long railway will span North to South Kalimantan, as well as routes from West to Central Kalimantan.
According to the Ministry of Transportation General Director, construction will begin in 2019 along to 89 km Balikpapan-Samarinda line, the 234 km Tanjung-Balikpapan route and the Banjarmasin-Palangkaraya route stretching 194 kms.
Four other huge routes — Batas Negara-Tanjung Redep (279 km), Tanjung Redep-Lubuktutung (293 km), Sanggau-Palangkaraya (587 km), Sanggau-Pontianak (143 km), and Pontianak-Batas Negara (268 km) — are also in the preparation stage.
According to the Train Network Strategic Development Plan 2015-2019, all new routes are targeted to be finished by 2030.
Djoko Setijowarno, Vice Chairman of the Indonesian Transportation Society, welcomed the large scale railway plan as the right decision.
“The first aim is to facilitate logistic purposes, followed by accommodating people for long distance trips. Realising the trains will have a long-term benefit, we began planning the development,” Setijowarno said, as quoted by Detik.
Kalimantan is set to boom with the help of this vital infrastructure, Setijowarno predicted, noting the island’s abundance of natural resources and thriving plantation and mining industries. The rail development is more beneficial with more produce and passengers moved for less energy and lower maintenance needs, he said.
The railway is part of plan to develop the country’s outer regions, after decades of neglect in favour of Java, Bali and Sumatra. The project is expected to stimulate local economies along the routes as well as ease travel for domestic and foreign tourists hoping to visit the region.
Image credits: Beritagar