Indonesia to move capital city

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Indonesia is moving its capital city away from Jakarta, according to the country’s planning minister.

Bambang Brodjonegoro said President Joko Widodo had chosen to relocate the capital in “an important decision”.

The new location is not yet known. However state media reports one of the front runners is Palangkaraya, on the island of Borneo.

Jakarta, home to over 10 million people, is sinking at one of the fastest rates in the world.

The announcement comes after Mr Widodo declared victory in the country’s general election earlier this month, though official results will not be announced until May 22.

Jakarta is also one of the fastest-sinking cities in the world.

Researchers say that large parts of the megacity could be entirely submerged by 2050. North Jakarta sunk 2.5m (eight feet) in 10 years and is continuing to sink an average of 1-15cm a year.

The city sits on the coast on swampy land, criss-crossed by 13 rivers.

Half of Jakarta is below sea level. One of the main causes of this is the extraction of groundwater which is used as drinking water and for bathing.

In a closed cabinet meeting, three options were reportedly discussed and presented to the president.

One involved making a special zone for government offices inside the current capital; another was to move it to just outside Jakarta and the third, the one the president preferred, was to build a brand new capital on another island.

The chief candidate is Palangkaraya, hundreds of kilometers to the north-east in central Kalimantan – the part of Borneo that belongs to Indonesia.

However, in Palangkaraya there is a mixed reaction to the idea of their sleepy city becoming the nation’s capital.


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