TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, officially opened ten new parks across Jakarta in a ceremony in Jagakarsa - namely Cakung Park, Kelapa Park, Zodja Park, East Kalibaru Park, Jagakarsa Park, PPA Park, Maja Park, Tanjung 2 Park, Lebak Bulus 3 Park, and Sunter Park.
"By law, 30 percent of Jakarta's total space should be allocated and kept as green belts across the city, but to get the current numbers to rise to 10 percent alone is a very challenging process," said Ahok, as he is known, at Jagakarsa Park in South Jakarta on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.
The construction of the new parks began in 2015, which Ahok intended to beautify the face of the capital, but also to meet Jakarta residents' demand for open, public spaces. At the same occasion, Ahok also officiated the opening of the Reformation Plaza in Pondok Ranggon Cemetery in East Jakarta, which is designed to provide comfort and a contemplation zone for those who wishes to pay their respects to the victims of the May 1998 Tragedy.
According to Ahok, the process of creating green spaces in Jakarta is always held back by one particular process - land acquisition. "Whenever the government tries to make a purchase, there is always someone who illegally asks for their cut from the sale of the plot of land," Ahok said, before adding that the government has the right to own the titles to green spaces across the capital, especially when such plots are needed to make way for public, collaborative spaces.
"It is funded by the city budget - as long as its' between Rp5-7 billion it should not be a problem," said Ahok. "But land owners - sensing the urgency of the matter - often marks up prices, to accommodate the payouts requested by third parties, which sometimes includes district heads and local community leaders."