The Jakarta Post
An explosion in a gas pipe belonging to state-owned gas distributor PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN), which occurred late on Wednesday affected businesses and traffic near the incident in the Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD), South Jakarta, on Thursday.
Dozens of businesses located near the explosion had their gas cut off, while traffic in the area was worse than usual during rush hour.
PGN spokesman Ridha Ababil said the company was forced to cut off the gas supply to 40 establishments in the area due to the incident.
'However, [as of Thursday afternoon] 39 of them have had their gas supplies restored,' he said.
The high-end shopping mall, Pacific Place, was the sole establishment that remained cut off at the time of writing on Thursday evening.
Ridha said the explosion was triggered by a fiber optic installation project. 'It caused a pipe leakage and when it was exposed to fire, inevitably, it exploded,' he said, encouraging the city administration to build better ducting facilities.
A number of construction projects are being carried out in the area of the incident, including those of city-owned mass rapid transit (MRT) project operator PT MRT Jakarta and those of state-owned telecommunications company PT Telkom.
None of them, however, were willing to take the blame.
PT Telkom public relations vice president Arif Prabowo denied the explosion was related to the company's phone line installation.
'The incident occurred far from our work site,' he said, adding that two of the company's workers had suffered minor injuries due to the explosion.
PT MRT Jakarta president director Dono Boestami said the company had conducted an internal investigation as well as contacting project contractors and field officers to look into the incident.
'We can give our assurance that the incident was not related to the MRT project. Our internal investigation showed that at the time of the incident, project contractors from PT MRT were not drilling or digging. We were only paving,' he said.
PT MRT Jakarta construction director M. Nasyir added that the investigation had also found wire extensions, street lights and other equipment in the area of the incident.
'We don't want to speculate who was behind the leak, but prior to it occuring, utility work conducted by an unidentified party was being conducted there,' he said.
Acting Jakarta governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama admitted that several problems had dogged the city's utility ducting system.
'We cannot control all of them right now because we do not have the map for utility ducts owned by different companies,' he said.
The Jakarta administration has issued Gubernatorial Regulation No. 167/2012 on underground spatial planning. However, the regulation is not specific enough, especially concerning underground installations.
Jakarta Police traffic security and safety subdivision chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Irvan Prawira said the police had yet to confirm whether the leaked gas was dangerous to the public.
'We're still looking for more information on whether the gas is harmful to the public,' he said. (idb)
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