Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. The provincial government of East Kalimantan says Russian investors plan to spend Rp 500 trillion ($33.9 billion) on a railway, bridges and various other infrastructure there.
Bere Ali, an assistant to the provincial administration secretary, said on Friday that the Russians were willing to invest without the need for the local government to put up any money of its own.
Russia’s biggest rail and locomotive company, Russian Railways, earlier completed a feasibility study to build tracks stretching almost 190 kilometers from West Kutai to Balikpapan – Indonesia’s coal and oil hubs, respectively.
Bere said this could start as a freight or a passenger railway, depending on market demand. He added that East Kalimantan Governor Awang Farouk Ishak had checked the kinds of trains that could be used on the line during a visit to Russia recently.
“When the railway is ready, whichever type of train is chosen will be OK. It will depend on the market demand – whether they want coal first, or passenger service first,” Bere said.
He also claimed that Russian investors planned to build 23 bridges across the province. “They will also build a science park and invest in many other projects,” he said.
Bere said the local administration and Russia had also discussed the possibility of developing a nuclear power plant in East Kalimantan, possibly involving Russia’s Rosatom. Any such plan, however, would require approval from the central government.
The Jakarta Globe was unable to confirm any of these stated plans with the Russian Embassy.