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Aceh toll way development starts end of 2016: President

Lhokseumawe, Aceh (ANTARA News) – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has requested construction on the Aceh segment of the Trans Sumatra toll way to begin in late 2016.

Construction on the other segment in Sumatra began in 2015.

“God willing, by the end of this year the Aceh toll road construction will begin,” said Jokowi in a welcoming speech at the Arun Gas Engine Power Plant in Lhokseumawe on Thursday.

The president mentioned that the Trans Sumatra toll way construction has already begun in Lampung.

“Attention to infrastructure development is also needed and I have asked the head of the Aceh region to prepare the construction of the Trans Sumatra toll way,” said Jokowi.

The President also asked the local government to be involved in the land acquisition process for the expressway construction.

“The central government will pay for the purchases, while the local governments should approach the citizens for acquiring their land, if not it would be useless,” Jokowi said.

The President mentioned that during its 70 years of independence, Indonesia has only built 810 kilometers of highways, and he requested that 1,000 kilometers of road should be built within five years. He noted that 4000 to 5000 kilometers of road are built in China each year.

“If other countries can, we should be able to do that, too. Whats the difference?” Jokowi asked.

In certain cases, toll road construction that has been completed for 20 km suddenly become dormant because of 10 meters of land that has not yet been acquired.

The President requested that regional heads must identify and solve problems in the field. “The key leaders have to talk to people,” Jokowi said.

Further, the President also called upon reviving the special economic zone in Lhokseumawe.

“Here we have Aceh Kraft Paper, Pupuk Iskandar Muda, ASEAN Fertilizer and cement. It should be revived. I have discussed it with the governor and the Minister of State,” Jokowi said.

Meanwhile, during the inauguration of the Arun Gas Engine Power Plant, Jokowi said that the construction of the plant is meant to help meet the area’s energy needs.

The Gas Engine Power Plant has a 184 MW capacity that will promote investments in tourism and the hotel industry in the area.

“Investors will withdraw their investments if there is no electricity. This is the how PLN (States Electricity Company) responded to power shortages. The power plants construction will take about three-months, while the engine development is targeted within six-months,” Jokowi said.

The cost for the gas engine power plant is more expensive than coal, but the plant is needed to increase the area’s electricity supply.

Also, after construction of the 184 MW power plant, the states electricity company will continue the development of 250 MW power plants in that area, which are expected to be completed soon.

Source: www.antaranews.com, 2 June 2016