President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, along with provincial leaders and several Cabinet ministers, gathered on Monday in North Penajam Paser regency, East Kalimantan, to partake in a symbolic ceremony to bless the development of the nation’s new capital Nusantara. The ceremony was held at the Kilometer Zero site at the new capital, where each provincial governor or their representative took turns in adding soil and water, symbolizing the archipelago of Indonesia, to a gold-plated container. Out of the 34 governors summoned to join the President in the ceremony, six were unable to attend.
Jokowi said Monday’s ceremony marked another milestone in the ambitious relocation project and represented a unification of the country at the site of Nusantara. The President said the unification of soil and water from all the provinces symbolized the archipelago’s diversity and unity. “This is a symbol of our strong diversity and unity in order to build the capital of the archipelago,” said Jokowi.
The ceremony in Nusantara was held a few days after Jokowi swore in Bambang Susantono and Dhony Rahajoe as the head and deputy head, respectively, of the new capital city authority, as the government stepped up its preparations to relocate the capital to East Kalimantan.
Jokowi has expressed his goal of celebrating Indonesia’s 79th independence anniversary in 2024 at his new office in Nusantara along with four ministries, namely the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, Home Ministry, and Finance Ministry. Nusantara will be located on 256,000 hectares of land in an area straddling North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies. According to the current plan, the project will cost Rp 466 trillion (US$32.7 billion), 19 percent of which is expected to be financed from the state budget, and the rest is expected to be financed through investments from the private sector and foreign investors.
March 10, 2022, detikNews