Backhoes are seen working on a section of the Jakarta-Bandung bullet train track in Bekasi, West Java, on Feb. 29. (Antara Photo/Fakhri Hermansyah)

Gov't Tells Suspended Bullet Train Project to Pick Up Pace


MARCH 04, 2020

Jakarta. The Transportation Ministry has told the contractor of the Jakarta-Bandung fast train project to follow up on safety recommendations following the government's decision to suspend the construction for two weeks after it caused flooding on a vital stretch of a toll road in West Java. 

The $6 billion China-backed project had already faced hurdles as some of its key Chinese engineers have been unable to return to Indonesia after President Joko "Jokowi" Wiododo decided to close the Southeast Asian country's border to travelers from China after the novel coronavirus outbreak began. 


Last weekend, the Public Works and Housing Ministry told Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC), a joint venture between Indonesia and Chinese state-owned companies responsible for the project, to halt constructions altogether. 

The ministry's Construction Safety Committee said unmanaged debris from the fast train project had clogged the drainage system on the adjacent Jakarta-Cikampek toll road, causing some parts of the toll road to be flooded during heavy rains.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said on Wednesday he told the KCIC to immediately follow up on the committee's recommendations.

"So this project can be resumed immediately and completed in time," Budi Karya said. 

The government has targeted the bullet train service, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, to begin full operations next year. 

The safety committee had six recommendations for the project's contractor. Aside from improving the drainage, the KCIC was told to improve access into and out of toll roads, road cleanliness, safety for toll road users, train track pillar construction, occupational safety and health, and logistical management. 

Chandra Dwiputra, the KCIC's president director, said the company had taken steps to follow up on the safety committee's recommendations. 

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said he agreed with the temporary suspension due to the damaging impact of the flooding on a vital toll road that connects Jakarta and the neighboring province's industrial area. 

"There's no problem with [the project's] environmental impact permit. It was the implementation that was not optimal," Ridwan said on Tuesday.

The governor hoped the company could improve its safety standards quickly and continue the construction within two weeks at the latest.