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Jakarta Post

Jatinegara residents complain about underground tunnel project

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 20, 2014   /  11:54 am

Residents of Cipinang Cempedak in Jatinegara, East Jakarta, are complaining about dirty water and cracking walls in their homes caused by the construction of an underground water tunnel to connect the Ciliwung River in Bidaracina with Jakarta'€™s East Flood Canal (KBT).

The head of neighborhood unit (RT) 6 of Cipinang Cempedak, Sari, said that several residents had complained to her since construction began on May 9.

Project contractor PT Wijaya Karya (Wika) has been drilling holes along Jl. Otto Iskandar Dinata (Otista) III, which is the midpoint between the Ciliwung River and the KBT, to install pipes.

When completed, the 1.27-kilometer-long tunnel will have a flow capacity of at least 60 cubic meters per second. The tunnel is expected to ease the load of the Ciliwung River, which often overflows and causes debilitating floods.

According to the Public Works Ministry, which is overseeing the project, the tunnel will run beneath the densely populated neighborhoods along Jl. Otista and Jl. Otista III and across the traffic-congested Jl. D.I. Panjaitan in East Jakarta.

As Jl. Otista III connects Jl. Otista to Jl. D.I. Panjaitan, the tunnel construction has exacerbated traffic.

Sari said the construction workers had been working carelessly and thus allowed untreated water to enter the neighborhood'€™s supply.

'€œSeveral citizens have come to me and said that their water suddenly became dirty after the construction started,'€ Sari said on Monday. '€œWhy didn'€™t the workers tell us beforehand? Didn'€™t they calculate the effects before starting the

She said that the workers had provided a temporary solution by diverting water to the affected houses from the workers'€™ tent across the street.

According to Sari, however, residents were still dissatisfied.

'€œHow long will this temporary solution last?'€ .

Additionally, vibration from the drilling has damaged some houses in the neighborhood.

Sari said that when residents had gone to the workers to complain, the workers brushed them off and were unwilling to take responsibility, suggesting cracked walls were due to '€œerratic weather'€.

Moreover, citizens also complained that the Public Works Ministry had not informed them before the start of the construction. Therefore, they did not have time to anticipate the effects and prepare necessary measures.

'€œOfficials from the Public Works Ministry and Wika [the contractor] never told us when exactly they would start construction or when it would finish. Suddenly, on May 9, workers came and told us they would start drilling that day,'€ Sari said.

'€œWe all understand that the tunnel is important for Jakarta citizens, and we support the construction. However, we hope the ministry and Wika will communicate better with residents,'€ she said.

Businesses along Jl. Otista III have also been negatively affected.

A beauty clinic on the street said it suffered a 30 percent drop in customers since the construction started.

'€œBefore the work began, the ministry and Wika claimed it would affect only half of the street. They said that it wouldn'€™t affect our business negatively,'€ said Darliyanti, the beauty clinic'€™s branch manager.

Darliyanti said that like the residents, she had not been not informed of the construction schedule. Because it didn'€™t have time to prepare for the construction, she said, the clinic had lost customers.

Representatives from both the Public Works Ministry and Wika declined to comment on the complaints. (dwa)

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