To further green Batam, the Batam authority plans to build an 86.5 hectares Botanic Garden on the islands, equal in size to the one in Bogor near Jakarta. Batam island is only half an hour by ferry from Singapore.
The area allocated is around Nongsa. The Science Institute of Indonesia (LIPI) has already given their support to the program and will assist with the necessary expertise. The total budget of Rp. 865 billion will be borne jointly by Batam, the provincial government of the Riau Islands, and the National Budget, and is planned for a number of years' development.
Preparations have been started, and LIPI experts have begun to make an inventory of endemic flora and fauna on Batam. Forests have also been scoured to find economic value wood such as the gaharu, pulau, keruing, meranti, pelawan and bintangor, next to finding rattan seeds.
LIPI will also study infrastructure needs, with expenses to be borne by the Ministry of Public Works, while Batam authoritieswil be in charge of clearing the land from illegal settlers.
The Batam Botanic Gardens wil have a number of functions. For the natural environment, the gardens will be a center for the conservation of the various flora and fauna found in the Riau Islands. The gardens will also serve as water catchment area and become the lungs for Batam. Furthermore the botanic gardens will become an area for education and tourism.
Meanwhile, from the Anambas Islands it is reported that the government has allocated Rp. 230 billion to build the Letung Airport on the island of Jemaja in the Anambas archipelago. The airport is expected to jack up the economy and attract tourism to these remote islands.
At present many travel writers have already raved about the beauty of the Anambas seas, which they call as the Sea Gardens of the South China Sea. However, because of limited access, the number of tourists have also been curtailed, said M Sani, Governor of the Riau Islands province.
Right now, Anambas can only be reached by ferry from Tanjung Pinang on Bintan island, which takes 9 hours. From Batam there are flights availabe but only on a number of days per week with planes carrying a maximum 48 passengers per flight.
Therefore, Anambas needs to construct the Letung Airport on Jemaja, that will have a 1,650 meters long runway, an apron, a terminal and a parking area. Letung Airport is expected to be operational by 2016.
Additionally, the local government plans to operate ferries to connect the many islands with the airport.
(Source: Kompas daily)
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