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Old Story. Sunda Strait Bridge: Should It Be Realized?

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23 Juni 2013   00:32 Diperbarui: 24 Juni 2015   11:34


One night, my family and I went to Lampung Fair Exhibition which was held in Sumpah Pemuda Sport Field. When we were visiting one stand which promoted a lot of unique things, suddenly one man, who was not far from us, told to his friends excitedly, “You won’t believe what I see just now in that stand!”. Then, his friends responsed, “What?”. Without much talking, the man then asked them to go with him. Due to my big feeling of curious, as if I had been hypnotized, I took steps to follow them. After walking some minutes, suddenly they turned to a stand which I could know that it showed off the developments in Lampung. Seemingly, the man wanted to show one of those developments which I remembered that I had ever read it in newspaper. That was the construction of Sunda Strait Bridge, a bridge that will connect Sumatra and Java Islands.

It is still strongly remembered in my mind, how enthusiastic my classmates talked about it in every their discussion. Eventhough it was still a plan at that time and not realized yet, it had made such sensational situation wherever. Being part of people living in Lampung, I also give my opinion about the construction of the bridge that will connect the province where I live with the opposite province which is separated by a strait. A lot of information which I get finally makes me think eventhough it would need abundant fee, it may be good to realize the construction of the bridge. More clearly, although it may need a lot of funds, the presence of Sunda Strait Bridge in Indonesia can provide great impacts for the development of this country, especially in the fields of transportation, industry, and social life of the society.

However, some people would argue that the construction of Sunda Strait Bridge consumes a big fund from the country’s budget. Unquestionably, it is true since that bridge will be the second longest bridge in the world if it is realized. Therefore, building that bridge will need very high fees which come from many factors. First, it will use very high-level technology. Unfortunately, our current technology is still not enough, which means we have to use the technology from other countries like USA, Japan, Denmark, England and any other developed countries that have ever built the similar bridge. Using their technology means we have to spend a lot of money to pay them. Second, we must also count the fee of the materials for building the bridge. Remember that it will be a very large public bridge that must use high quaility but highly costs building materials. Third, we must not forget about the salary of the people who work for it. Since it is a big project that needs a lot of human resources, we have to consider suitable salaries for each person who are involved in the process. If those three mentioned factors are counted up, they can take a very big portion from our country’s budget. This matter makes some people think that it would not be wise to realize the plan of constructing Sunda Strait Bridge.

How big the fee needed is, however, the presence of Sunda Strait Bridge brings a lot of benefits. One of them is that the bridge makes the transportation between Java and Sumatra Islands be more effective. Currently, the transportation of goods and services between Sumatra and Java islands through land way and ferry ship have been really crowded. The data taken from the shipping service company shows that the total of passengers who leave Bakauheni (Sumatra) reaches 450,523 people each year and they who leave Merak (Java) reach 364,329 people each year with the growth estimation about 6.29% per year. On the other hand, this condition is not supported with the effective transportation facilities. The transportation currently used needs two until three hours to cross the strait and sometimes it could be more due to annoying factors like bad weather, extreme sea waves or the limit of the available ships. This matter causes the flow of transportation run slowly and as the impact, it could disturb the fluency of activities which sometimes could lead to financial and time lost. For example, as we have ever seen on television every year, the condition of Bakauheni and Merak port when Lebaran Day is going to come is so extreme. The number of the vehicles and the people who want to cross the strait are not balance with the load of the available ships. As the consequence, very long queues happen which make the mobility runs very slowly and not effectively. Some big vehicles like trucks even must stay on the same position in the queues till some days which make them deliver the orders lately. It gives them not only time lost but also financial lost. Due to this reason, the presence of connecting bridge which can help in creating fluency and effectiveness on the transportation flow is considered highly necessary.

Move from the transportation side, Sunda Strait Bridge then can give positive impacts to the development of industrial activities in this country. Until now, the industrial activities are mostly concentrated in Java islands. As the consequence, Java island grows faster than other regions with the most glaring development in Indonesia. This not-good condition should be altered soon since it raises serios problems that finally could be obstacle for our nation development, for example the presence of underdevelopment areas and the limit of Java areas toward the industrial activities which continue increasing. Therefore, there should be effective solution to distribute part of the industrial activities in Java, minimally to Sumatra, since Sumatra is the nearest one from Java that still needs to be developed. For it, Sunda Strait Bridge can be an effective way. As the result, the well distribution of development between the two islands can give significant positive impacts to the industrial development of this country. This is because some of the industrial areas which are very concentrated in Java are distributed to and developed well in Sumatra. Sumatra still has many empty places which should be explored maximally and it can be done by distributing some industries in Java islands which has been too crowded to those empty places in Sumatra islands. At last, it could make Sumatra and Java islands to be together as the most powerful one to develop the industrial activities in Indonesia. In the world economy constellation, the position of Sumatra and Java island have important roles for regional context. Based on the report from the World Bank on 2007, the average growth of manpower in those two areas is 1.9% above the growth of East Asia and Pacific which is only 1.2%, with the propotion of poverty about 17%.With the presence of Sunda Strait Bridge access, the influence of those two islands on the world geoeconomy will be very significant. Especially to the industrial sector of tourism service and the transportation across ASEAN even Asia-Australia, including the economy access with the peninsula of South-East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore). The map of industrial geoeconomy then will change by the connection between Sumatra and Java through Sunda Strait Bridge.

Besides transportation and industry, Sunda Strait Bridge can also give positive social impacts especially to the two islands, Sumatra and Java. All of us know that Indonesia is a very crowded country. Based on the data taken from the World Bank on 2007, with the number of people about 225.6 millions, Indonesia stays on the fourth rank in the list of the most crowded countries in the world after China, India and USA. This is good because it means that there is abundant manpowers to develop this country. However, the problem comes when these a lot of human resources are not distributed well. About sixty percent of those people live in Java, which only has width about only six percent from Nusantara at whole. This is a big problem which has many impacts to the development of our country. For example, because of the bad human resources distribution, the development in this country can not also be distributed well. This happens because human resources are the most important element besides the natural resources to develop areas. If the human resources are concentrated in one area, it is only that area who can be developed well. This matter that occurs in our country where it seems that only Java who develops quickly. This matter finally could raise other more serious problems like the bad communication especially to the areas which are so far from Java where the impact is not good for the stabilization of politic, economy and social of this country. Therefore, it is strongly suggested to decrease the human concentration in Java by distributing some parts to other areas in Indonesia. Sumatra can be the best option since it is very near from Java and it still needs more manpower to develop the big potentials that it has. Sumatra is very rich with its abundant nature which are still not explored intensively yet. This is so unbalanced with the condition in Java which has been too crowded with the human resources. Thereby, the presence of effective connecting facility like a bridge could help in creating the balance of natural resources and human resources between Sumatra and Java. Besides that, it could make the communication between those two islands be more fluent and effective, and the mobility of the people and their access to the two islands can be easier and faster. For instance by the presence of Sunda Strait Bridge, we do not need to face anymore the problems that could annoy our journey when we use ships like bad weather, high waves or the limit of the ship availability. Besides that, for us who like using plane service better than using ship due to the faster journey, by the presence of Sunda Strait Bridge, we have another option for our travelling which is cheaper compared to the plane and faster compared to the ship service.

Based on the benefits that we could get, it may be good to realize the plan of constructing Sunda Strait Bridge. Although it may need abundant fee, there are many benefits that we could obtain for long period after the bridge construction. Based on the last report from the National Development Ministry, the project of Sunda Strait Bridge is estimated to consume fund till US$ 25 millions (Rp 215.375 triliuns) and the investation for the fee of properness and basic design will take US$150 millions (Rp 1.29 triliuns). The details of this estimation are still possible to increase as more intensive the discussion are held. This is so unbalanced with the condition of the available fund source since the contribution of country’s budget is only 30% and the remains are from the private sector. This problem can be solved, however, if the government and the private sector can hold a good cooperation and the government can find other fund sources. The fund sources which are possible and can have potential could be from the project sponsor, internal loans, external grants and the publishing of the country’s islamic law commercial papers. These fund source could assist the government in facing the financial problems for constructing Sunda Strait Bridge.

To conclude, by considering the big benefits that we could get and the solution that we could do to solve the raised problems, it is good to realize the project of Sunda Strait Bridge. The construction of Sunda Strait Bridge is one of the megaprojects on international-level that Indonesia has. Therefore if it is realized, it will be not only something challenging but also pride for Indonesia. Moreover, this bridge will shift a big bridge in Japan as the second longest bridge in the world. It means that after it is realized, it will be not only alternative way for solving the problems in Indonesia but also a prestigious icon for Indonesia in the eye of the world.

(Kharisrama Trihatmoko)


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Kreator: Kharisrama Trihatmoko


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