MRT project finally kicks off, sort of
Sita W. Dewi
The Jakarta Post
Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo officially launched the long over-due mass rapid transit (MRT) project on Thursday at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta.
'An MRT station under the ground where we are standing right now will look like this,' he told local and foreign journalists as he gestured to a picture he was holding. The station design comprised two platform levels, one for the concourse area and the other the train line.
The governor said the first phase of the MRT track, to connect Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta and the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, would be ready by 2017. The track will have six underground stations, seven elevated stations and a capacity of 173,000 passengers per day. This first phase of work requires Rp 3.6 trillion (US$370.8 million).
During the soft launch, Dono Boestami, president director of project operator city-owned PT MRT Jakarta, announced two consortiums of Japanese and state-owned companies won the tenders for the first three work packages.
'A consortium of Shimizu-Obayashi-Wijaya Karya-Jaya Konstruksi will carry out two underground construction packages and, Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Company-Hutama Karya another. We will issue letters of acceptance to the winners soon,' Dono said, adding that the MRT would use Japanese technology.
The MRT construction project had been divided into eight packages, comprising three underground civil works, three elevated civil works, the MRT system and the MRT rolling stock. Dono said the tenders for the other five construction packages were underway.
The construction of the first phase of the MRT track will be funded by a Â¥125 billion ($1.27 million) soft loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The central government has agreed to repay 49 percent of the loan while the administration will pay the rest over a loan period of 40 years, a grace period of 10 years and at an interest rate below 1 percent per year.
The chief representative of JICA Indonesia office, Atsushi Sasaki, lauded the project's launch.
'It is an honor and pleasure to be here with the governor and the MRT president director and I am very happy to hear the announcement,' he said.
During the launch, a number of residents from Fatmawati in South Jakarta calling themselvesthe Masyarakat Peduli MRT (MRT Community) staged a protest at the venue.
'We oppose the MRT construction project. It will affect businesses in our area and it will turn our area into a slum,' Derryl Imanali, a protester, said, adding that up to 1,000 residents would rally on Fatmawati on Friday to express their position.
Separately, PT Wijaya Karya corporate secretary Natal Argawan Pardede said the company was set to commence work.
'We are ready anytime PT MRT Jakarta asks us to start construction. However, there are procedures we have to go through before starting,' Natal told The Jakarta Post.
It is unclear whether or not the MRT project would involve a consultant from a neutral party as Jokowi intended. Last month Jokowi, along with several high-ranking officials, went to Singapore and met with representatives of the land transportation authority there to seek advice for the project. The governor said that the administration wanted a consultant from a neutral party to supervise construction.
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