Appreciating Papuan Infrastructure Development in the Jokowi Era – President Jokowi’s steps in accelerating infrastructure development in Papua deserve appreciation. In addition to supporting the progress of Papua, the existence of infrastructure is expected to minimize disparities in prices for basic needs and improve people’s welfare.

Papua Bangkit Stadium and Youtefa Bridge stand majestically in Papua, and were established during the reign of President Jokowi. During his administration, development in Papua was carried out very rapidly, especially in the infrastructure sector. In fact, for the first time, Papua was trusted by the central government to host the XX National Sports Week.

The community also appreciates the acceleration of infrastructure development in Papua, especially the Trans Papua Road which stretches for 4,600 kilometers. Anis Wayag, a citizen of Walarek Village, Yalimo Regency, said that it used to take up to a month to walk from his village to Elelim (the capital of Yalimo). But after the Trans Papua Road, it only took a day to go there.

Easily accessing for the Papuan people is indeed a priority for the government in building infrastructure, especially the Trans Papua Road. If the mobility of the people on Earth of Cenderawasih improves, it will affect all fields. Especially in the fields of economy, health, security, and others.

If the infrastructure is good and the mobility is smooth, Papuans can run trade between cities/districts more quickly. By passing the Trans Papua Road, shipping costs and fuel costs can also be saved, because they arrive faster. They will get more profit.

Then, the roads and bridges built by the government also make it easier for the Papuan people to get access to health. If the road is easy, they can come to the nearest health center or hospital, and accident victims or people who are seriously ill can be treated quickly. Likewise with pregnant women who can be quickly helped by midwives, so that it will reduce the mortality rate of pregnant women in Papua.

The General Secretary of the Barisan Merah Putih Papua Province, Wusabek Wantik, appreciated the infrastructure development in Papua that was carried out during the administration of President Jokowi. In Papua and West Papua, the transportation is good and not inferior to Java. The price of cement in Bumi Cendrawasih was also lowered.

The price of cement in Papua is indeed much more expensive than in Java, even reaching 2 million rupiah per bag. However, during the administration of President Jokowi, the price could be reduced to only 500,000 to 650,000 rupiah per bag.

The price of cement is very expensive because the cost of transportation is also expensive, since it is carried by airplane (the price of avtur is expensive). However, with the Trans Papua Road, cement transportation can be carried out by land, so the shipping costs are cheaper and also affects the cheap price of cement.

Reducing cement prices is very important for Papua’s development. The number of infrastructure and public facilities being built, of course requires cement as a raw material. If the price of cement is cheaper, it can reduce development costs, and it will be completed faster, then the people of Papua will be able to use it.

Wusabek continued, President Jokowi provided social assistance (bansos) to Papua. In a sense, he applied Pancasila, especially the principle of ‘Social Justice for All Indonesian People’. Where all people in this country are entitled to social assistance as a safety cushion during the pandemic, and given from Sabang to Merauke.

Meanwhile, the Papuan people appreciate the development in Papua, as well as the division of the region. If there are additional provinces, the development in Bumi Cendrawasih will be more massive. The reason is because in the new province new roads and infrastructure will be built as public facilities. People who will benefit because they can enjoy it.

The condition of Papua is very different from that of Java, where the geography is rather difficult. In a sense, there are still trails, forests, hills, and it will make it difficult for people to move. However, when there is infrastructure development (roads), it will be further tidied up so that the road is suitable for motorized vehicles to pass.

As a form of people’s appreciation for the government, the Wate indigenous people in Nabire Regency, donated 75 hectares of customary land to be used as the office of the Governor of Central Papua. A Deputy Minister of Home Affairs John Wempi Wetipo stated that this grant is an extraordinary support from the people. Even the Regent’s official house was also given up to be used by the Acting Governor later.

As a native Papuan son, John Wetipo feels proud because his tribal brothers support the government’s steps in the success of the division of the region. Proven that the addition of provinces are followed by infrastructure development which is highly appreciated by indigenous Papuans.

The appreciation from various parties for the acceleration of infrastructure development in Papua is proof that the Papuan people love the Indonesian government. They are very grateful because during the administration of President Jokowi, Papua was so cared for. Various infrastructures are built so that Papua is more modern and not left behind from other regions.

Author: Sabby Kosay (Papuan student living in Bali)

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