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- Indonesia has approved a plan to move its capital city away from Jakarta.
- The move could take 10 years and cost up to $33 billion, and was described by the country’s planning minister as “visionary.”
- Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities and suffers from major congestion problems.
- The government said that it would move its activities off the island of Java and that it was considering one of the country’s eastern islands, but did not offer any specifics.
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Indonesia is moving its capital city away from Jakarta, one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities.
Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro announced on Monday that President Joko Widodo has decided to move the government out of the city and choose a new location as the country’s capital, a process that he said could cost as much as $33 billion, according to CNN Indonesia.
Brodjonegoro said that a new location had not yet been chosen, but that the goverment will move the capital off the island of Java, the country’s most populous island. He called the move an “important decision” for Indonesia.
Brodjonegoro said that the government was considering a location on the eastern side of the series of islands, but did not give futher details. Sumatra, the Indonesian island closest to Java, is around 100 miles from Jakarta.
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He said that the move could take as long as 10 years, but said the government was using “visionary'” thinking.
“We want to think in a visionary way for the progress of this country and moving the capital requires thorough and detailed preparation,” he said, according to CNN.
Jakarta is one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities, built on swampy land, located beside the sea and cut through with multiple rivers.
Heri Andreas, a researcher at Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of Technology, told the BBC in 2018 that his research indicated that “by 2050 about 95% of North Jakarta will be submerged.”
40% of the city was below sea level in 2017, The New York Times reported at the time.
More than 10 million people live in Jakarta, Reuters reported, but has a metropolitan area of more than three times that. This large population means the city suffers from huge congestion problems. The United Nations said in 2016 that Jakarta was the world’s 27th most populous city.
Plans to move the capital city have existed for years, but Widodo only confirmed his support on Monday.
According to The Associated Press, Widodo said the idea “appeared long ago” but he said “it has never been decided or discussed in a planned and mature manner.”