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Government builds cross-border road to facilitate transportation for Papuan people

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By: Moses Waker )*

The government is intensifying the construction of cross-border roads on the border between Papua and Papua New Guinea. The construction of cross roads is very important to support security between countries and facilitate transportation for people in Papua.

During President Jokowi’s administration, there was a lot of development in Papua. Infrastructure development such as the Trans Papua Road and Youtefa Bridge is carried out to facilitate community mobility. The people of Papua are grateful because they can feel the positive impact of massive development there, so that their economy continues to grow.

The government is also building a cross-border road between Papua and Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea is the closest neighboring country that can be reached via land if you go via Papua.

In order to improve connectivity between regions and open access to isolated areas, the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) continues to build border roads in several regions of Indonesia that directly border neighboring countries. 

One of these projects is the construction of the Papua Border Road as an effort to strengthen the territorial border between the Republic of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea along 1,098.33 km. 

PUPR Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said that the border road network is infrastructure with strategic value for Indonesia. The road network also functions as national defense and security and supports new economic growth centers in border areas.

Minister Basuki added that the challenges in building the border road in Papua were security disturbances, natural conditions in the form of forests, mountains and weather. Apart from that, construction materials are limited and access to the location is also difficult to reach, so logistics and labor are difficult to obtain.

In other words, to secure cross-border road construction projects, security forces need to be escorted. With their protection, project workers can complete cross-border roads on time. The project workers are also proud of building a cross-border road that frees the Papuan people from conditions of isolation.

Then, Papua’s natural conditions are also a challenge in completing cross-country road projects. Finally, the project was carried out in stages considering that the terrain was very difficult because it had to cross steep mountains, penetrate forests, which was very difficult for construction workers and the mobilization of work equipment.

Even though there are many challenges, the government is continuing the cross-border road construction project. The government is optimistic that all obstacles and challenges can be overcome, of course with cooperation from various parties.

Meanwhile, Director General of Highways Hedy Rahadian said that the construction of the Papua Border Road is divided into 3 segments. Segment 1 Jayapura – Arso – Waris – Yeti is 127.56 km long, Segment 2 Yeti – Ubrub – Oksibil is 302.36 km long, and Segment 3 Oksibil – Tanah Merah – Muting – Merauke is 668.41 km long.

Currently, the physical progress of construction of Segment 1 Jayapura – Arso – Waris – Yeti has reached 100%. Meanwhile, Segment 2 Yeti – Ubrub – Oksibil has reached 49.10%. For Segment 3 Oksibil – Tanah Merah – Muting – Merauke it has reached 87.02%. So the total border roads in Papua that have been built are 944.44 km.

Implementation of the construction of the Papua border road in Segments 1-3 from the 2015 – 2022 period with a budget of IDR 1.283 Trillion and the target of completing the construction in stages with the target road condition at the end of 2024 is 146.79 km of forest, 181.86 km of dirt road. km and asphalt roads along 769.68 km.

Apart from strengthening territorial borders between countries, the construction of the Papua Border Road aims to open up isolation and facilitate connectivity to regional economic centers, thereby facilitating the transportation of goods and people which will have an impact on reducing the prices of goods and services in Papua.

It is hoped that the presence of border roads and access to the border can open up regional isolation which will really help people in border areas. By building road infrastructure, basic needs can be obtained more easily and cheaply, thereby reducing disparities between regions in Indonesia.

In 2023, border road construction will still be the government’s priority. The PUPR Ministry is targeting 3,707 km of border road construction throughout Indonesia, such as in Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara and Papua, to be completed by the end of 2024. The target for border road construction conditions is 1,717.66 km of asphalt pavement, 434.97 km aggregate, 1,000.11 km km of land, and the possibility of leaving 198.84 km of forest.

The government is intensifying the construction of cross-border roads between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. This road is very important to support security between countries, so that no one passes without official documents. Then, cross-border roads also function to ensure that Papuan people in remote areas are free from conditions of isolation, so that their mobility is made easier.

)* The author is  a Papuan student living in Makassar

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