27 Mar 2013

Indonesian military to build roads in Papua

8:48 pm on 27 March 2013

Indonesia's Government is to use the military to build 1,520 kilometres of new roads in less than two years in the harsh terrain of Papua and West Papua provinces.

The Jakarta Post reports the Presidential Unit to Accelerate the Development of Papua and West Papua has turned to the military because no private contractors have the ability to do the job using the allocated budget.

The paper says a Presidential Decree is expected in the next few months authorising the military to do such work, clearing the way for more than 1,000 army engineers to get to work.

An Indonesian official says the military's deployment is aimed at speeding up the process at a relatively low cost, as it is not seeking any financial profit.

While the annual budget for the provinces is estimated at about 4 billion US dollars, officials say much of this goes to cover transportation costs and inflated prices resulting from a lack of roads and ports.