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Indonesia to move its capital to Nusantara soon; Here’s why Jakarta is no more the first choice

In 2019, the thought of building a brand new capital 1,300km (800 miles) away on the island of Borneo was first proposed.

The new city according to the announcements made in that country will be governed by the State Capital Authority. The leadership will be appointed for five year terms by the President directly. (AP File image)
The new city according to the announcements made in that country will be governed by the State Capital Authority. The leadership will be appointed for five year terms by the President directly. (AP File image)

A decision has been taken by the Parliament of Indonesia to move the capital to a place called Nusantara. In Javanese it means “archipelago”.

Why was the decision taken?

In 2019, the thought of building a brand new capital 1,300km (800 miles) away on the island of Borneo was first proposed.

Jakarta, according to the information available in the public domain has become overcrowded, very polluted and sinking due to over-extraction of underground water. It sits on a swampy land on a large island of Java and is home to over 10 million people. The decision to shift the capital was taken as Jakarta is highly flood prone. 

Air is highly polluted. And there are huge traffic jams.

By 2050, one third of Jakarta would be under water.

The new capital

The new capital will be located in mineral-rich East Kalimantan. This place is an Indonesian province on the island of Borneo. Indonesia shares this with Brunei and with Malaysia. Around 256,142 hectares have been set aside for the project. And if need be there is additional land available.

There are huge jungles and an orangutan population. It is home to just around 3.7 million people.

According to critics, the construction will lead to the expansion of palm-oil plantations, and also logging in an area of lush rainforests and diverse wildlife.

The new city according to the announcements made in that country will be governed by the State Capital Authority. The leadership will be appointed for five year terms by the President directly.

Previously, several groups representing the indigenous people of Borneo have voiced their concerns.

There are differing views on the new capital plans. For instance some feel the Nusantara could be confusing, as it is an old Javanese term and this term has been used in Indonesia to refer to the archipelago nation as a whole.

When the move starts it will be the biggest ever infrastructure project undertaken in that country. It will cost an estimated 466 trillion rupiah ($32.4bn; £23.8bn). It is expected to be a smart city.

Which countries have changed their capitals?

Countries like Myanmar, Malaysia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Brazil have changed their capitals and moved to new places.

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