Foke Boasts Progress on Flooding, Traffic

By webadmin on 02:37 pm Jun 09, 2012
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Lenny Tristia Tambun

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo has claimed significant achievements in tackling floods, traffic congestion and unemployment over the past five years, but city councilors remain underwhelmed.

Presenting his end-of-term accountability report before the City Council on Thursday, Fauzi cited flood mitigation as one of his biggest achievements to date.

“In the past five years, we have made significant progress in terms of dealing with flooding,” he said.

He pointed out that the total size of flood-prone areas across the city had shrunk by 30 percent, thanks in large part to the construction of the East Flood Canal and repairs to the West Flood Canal.

Fauzi added that his administration had also dredged 42 different waterways across the city, cleaned out floodgates and revived the system of polders, or water catchment areas, in North Jakarta, which had all contributed to improved water flow.

“As a result, we’re now seeing floodwaters recede 50 percent faster compared to 2007,” he said.

On traffic, the governor touted his achievement in adding four new corridors to the TransJakarta busway network, almost doubling the length of the network from 97.3 kilometers in 2007 to 183.6 kilometers today. He said this had led to more commuter trips on the busway, from 61.4 million in 2007 to 114.7 million in 2011.

Another achievement is the ongoing construction of two elevated roads across some of the busiest parts of the city and set for completion by the end of the year.

“Something else that we have to look forward to is that Jakarta’s dream to get a modern mass transportation system will finally be realized,” Fauzi said.

“The idea of having an MRT [mass rapid transit rail line] has been on the cards for around 20 years now, and this October we will finally begin building it. This is the first step toward the modernization of Jakarta’s public transportation system.”

He also claimed success on the economic front, including in cutting the unemployment rate from 12.6 percent in 2007 to 10.7 percent in 2011.

“We’re optimistic that we can get it down to 10 percent this year by creating even more jobs,” he said.

“The decrease in the number of unemployed people has come in tandem with a decrease in the number of people living below the poverty line and an increase in the city’s human development index.”

In 2007, there were 405,000 people in Jakarta — 4.5 percent of the population — categorized as living below the poverty line. Last year, the figure dropped to 355,000 — 3.6 percent — even as the minimum monthly income defining the poverty line increased.

However, Ida Mahmudah, a councilor from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), pointed out that all the achievements that Fauzi was claiming came during the last two years of his five-year term.

“His accountability report was less than satisfactory,” she said. “All the successes came in the fourth and fifth years of his term, which is just too late.”

Aliman Aat, the head of the Democratic Party in the council, said that although the governor’s report was satisfactory, it omitted several key problem areas, including a recent increase in street brawls and other security breakdowns.

He also pointed out that the city’s 2007-2012 development plan was only 68 percent complete.

“By this point, with his term coming to an end in October, it should be at least 80 percent complete,” he said.