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Jakarta Post

Funds shortage blocks revitalization of Surakarta heritage buildings

  • Ganug Nugroho Adi

    The Jakarta Post

Surakarta, Central Java   /   Tue, July 12, 2016   /  11:24 am
Funds shortage blocks revitalization of Surakarta heritage buildings Precious heritage – A building in the Mangkunegaran Palace complex (pictured). ( Nugroho Adi)

Hundreds of heritage buildings in Surakarta, Central Java, have been listed as critically damaged but a lack of funding continues to hamper revitalization efforts. 

As many as 100 of the city’s 200 heritage buildings and cultural heritage areas are said to be in a critical state of disrepair but due to a budget shortage the city administration must delay its heritage building preservation project, originally scheduled to begin this year.  

“Under such conditions, we don’t dare attempt a detailed-engineering design [DED]. We managed to have one of the four designs drawn up, the revitalization of Loji Gandrung,” Surakarta Urban Spatial Planning Agency head Agus Djoko Witiarso said in a recent interview.

The Surakarta administration allocated Rp 350 million (US$26,661.60 ) for the revitalization design in the 2016 city budget but this amount was only sufficient for one revitalization design, he said.

The Surakarta administration plan to revitalize the Al Wustho Mosque, Dalem Joyokusuman and a bunker inside the City Hall complex, each requiring a revitalization budget amounting to Rp 300 million, Rp 300 million and Rp 150 million, respectively. 

“We have to wait for the required budget before we can have revitalization designs drawn up for these three projects,” said Agus.

The revitalization of Loji Gandrung is a priority because the building, built in the Dutch colonial era, is the official residence of the Surakarta mayor, he said.

“From an architectural point of view, the value of Loji Gandrung is higher than the three other culture heritage buildings. Hopefully, the revitalization of Loji Gandrung can begin in 2017,” said Agus.

Several iconic culture heritage buildings have been left in a significant state of disrepair, namely the Surakarta Grand Mosque, Kasunanan Palace, Mangkunegaran Palace and the old buildings at the Laweyan batik village, explained Surakarta Culture Heritage Expert Team member Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Haryo (KGPH) Dipo Kusumo.

“We are creating an inventory of all the culture heritage buildings in Surakarta, including those that are damaged. The team will categorize the level of their damage,” said Dipo, who is the son of the late Surakarta King Paku Buwono XII.

Heritage building preservation experts have said that they are worried that the absence of regulations on the preservation of cultural heritage objects will hamper efforts to save the damaged buildings. Currently, preservation efforts are regulated by the Culture Heritage Law and a Regional Regulation (Perda) on the conservation of culture heritage, through which implementation still requires implementation regulations such as a mayoral regulation.

Indonesian Culture Heritage Preservation Committee (KPCBN) head Agus Anwari said that the government had issued one of several government regulations (PP) needed for the implementation of the Culture Heritage Law, the government regulation on the registration of cultural heritage objects. Other PPs, such as cultural heritage preservation and conservation incentives, remain in discussion.

“The absence of regulations will negatively affect the city’s efforts to conserve heritage buildings, especially if a cultural heritage building is privately owned because the building owner can destroy the old building and replace it with the new one,”  said Agus.

Apart from the revitalization efforts, it is hoped that the Surakarta administration will begin to discuss regulations to protect cultural heritage buildings in the city, he said. (ebf)


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