Here’s Why Indonesia Is Moving Its Capital City From Jakarta to Nusantara
The shift was made due to concerns over climate change and the unequal concentration of wealth across the country.
Indonesia plans to shift its capital city from Jakarta to a province called East Kalimantan (around 2000km from northeast of Jakarta), and name its new capital Nusantara, which means "archipelago."
Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the move could take place in 2024.
Since a bill on the shift of the capital was approved by the Parliament on 18 January, construction of the new one could start any time this year.
The current capital – Jakarta – is located on the island of Java.
The shift was first announced in 2019 by President Joko Widodo two-and-a-half years ago when he stated that "the government has conducted in-depth studies in the past three years and as a result of those studies the new capital will be built in part of North Penajam Paser regency and part of Kutai Kertanegara regency in East Kalimantan."
Back then, he had also assured that Jakarta will remain the country's commercial and financial centre, and while it will no longer be the capital, most of its 10 million residents would continue to reside there.
Why Was the Shift Necessary?
The shift in the capital is being made due to the massive environmental challenges facing Jakarta, a city that suffers from frequent flooding and is one of the fastest sinking cities of the world.
Construction of apartments blocks and shopping malls has increased the risks of flooding.
The northern part of the city has been sinking at an estimated 25 cm a year.
Water for drinking is extracted from shallow aquifers, and that could lead the land above it to collapse.
The concerns, however, are more than environmental.
Redistribution of wealth is also an important objective of this shift.
Java, the island consisting of Jakarta, houses 60 percent of the whole country's population, which is around 278 million at the moment.
More than 50 percent of the country's economic activity takes place in Java, while Kalimantan is almost four times the size of the former.
A shift in the capital, therefore, aims to ease the burden of human activity on Jakarta and Java.
(With inputs from The Guardian)
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