Indonesia is concluding plans to move its capital city from Jakarta to Palangkaraya, the country’s Minister of Planning, Bambang Brodjonegoro, has said.
If it happens, the Asian country will be moving its seat of power from sinking Jakarta, 75 years after the idea was first conceived.
According to Brodjonegoro, Joko Widodo, who has unofficially announced himself as the re-elected President of the country, is open to the idea of building a new capital on the island of Palangkaraya.
The BBC reports that Jakarta is one of the fastest sinking cities in the world, with the northern end of the populated city sinking by eight feet in the last 10 years.
The capital continues to sink at an average of 1-15cm a year with researchers saying that the city of 10 million people will be completely submerged by 2050 – 31 years from now.
Announcing the decision to journalists, Brodjonegoro said the process would take at least 10 years to be completed.
He also added that the feat was possible as several other countries had accomplished same.
He said, “Brazil moved from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia near the Amazon, and look at Canberra – it is built between Sydney and Melbourne, and Kazakhstan moved their capital closer to the centre of the country and also Myanmar moved to Naypyidaw.”
According to the BBC, residents of Kalimantan, where the island is located, have bitter-sweet feelings about the plan.
“I hope the city will develop and education will become as good as in Jakarta.
“But all the land and forest that's empty space now will be used. Kalimantan is the lungs of the world, and I am worried, we will lose the forest we have left,” a high school pupil said.