City to focus on flood
mitigation, schools

The city administration will focus its spending next year on flood prevention and the restoration of run-down schools.

Deputy Governor Prijanto said that as a result of the prioritization, other planned projects, including the restoration of sidewalks, would be shelved.

"The pedestrian sidewalks are still in good condition, so we can allocate the budget for constructing water reservoirs that will benefit the public more," he said.

Each planned water reservoir will be able to hold excess rainwater in low lying regions before later pumping it into the sea.

The city requires an additional 13 reservoirs, equivalent to 6,942 hectares, to prevent flooding in all of Jakarta's low-lying areas, which account for 40-percent of the capital's footprint and are mostly located in North Jakarta. There are currently 29 such reservoirs in the capitol.

New reservoirs are needed in Kapuk Polgar, Jelambar Timur, Sunter Timur I and II, Kelapa Gading, Marunda, Cengkareng Barat, Tanjungan (Tegal Alur), Kapuk Muara 1, 2, and 3, Kampung Gusti, Rawa Buaya, Kedoya Green Garden and Kedoya Taman Ratu Greenville.

A total of Rp 19.5 trillion is needed to construct the new reservoirs, almost the equivalent of the annual city budget of Rp 20 trillion (US$2.08 billion), meaning the project will be spread over a number of years.

Prijanto estimated that the 2009 city budget would be between Rp 1 trillion and 2 trillion higher than this year's budget of Rp 20.39 trillion.

He said some of the city's older schools were in desperate need of restoration, and that he did not want to hear anymore about collapsing school infrastructure in the future.

Sukesti Martono, head of the city's basic and middle-education agency, said his agency would renovate school buildings that were more than 30 years old, located in flood-prone areas and that had wooden roofs.

"We will replace the wooden roofs with lightweight steel frames to extend the roofs' longevity," he said.

Prijanto said the administration would also prioritize low-cost housing projects.

"I have told housing agency officials that when they buy plots of land and build housing complexes, they should prioritize (housing) for people living in flood susceptible areas, such as squatters at Pluit dam (North Jakarta)," he said.

The city administration has shaken up its policies this year, and Governor Fauzi Bowo has said he will cut down the number of city projects from 41,000 to just 9,000 next year, citing ineffective management.

The city administration will also slash the number of its agencies from 26 currently to 20.

Catur Laswanto, head of the city's organization and execution bureau, said he had proposed the changes in a letter sent to the Home Ministry and that he expected approval by the end of this year.

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