WALINI, Indonesia, July 16 (Xinhua) — The Walini tunnel project of the High-Speed Railway (HSR) linking Indonesian capital Jakarta to Bandung was launched here Saturday.
Indonesian State-owned Enterprises (SoE) Minister Rini Soemarno attended the ground-breaking ceremony and visited the project in Walini in Bandung Regency.
“I am optimistic about this project which would be in full swing at the end of August. It means that any obstacles we are facing now need to be cleared,” Rini told Xinhua.
The minister said she will immediately coordinate with state power firm PLN and the Ministry of Public Works to overcome the obstacles.
“I am pleased with these developments so far. I have heard about results of cooperation with the Chinese firms here, such as recruitment of locals in the projects,” she said.
The project was previously delayed due to official permits and land compensation issues, she said.
“But as the state enterprise minister who is a shareholder of this project, I will make it sure this project would be completed as we have planned,” she said.
Praising the Indonesian minister’s commitments, Zhang Wei, general manager of the China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway project, said that the commencement of the tunnel project will offer a significant demonstration and give experience for other tunnel constructions in the HSR project.
“As the first formal project of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR project, the commencement of the tunnel in Walini marks an important step in the overall construction,” Zhang told Xinhua.
The CREC will cooperate with other Chinese contractors so as to contribute to the accomplishment of the HSR project and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, he said.
The Jakarta-Bandung HSR project contract was signed in Jakarta in early April between consortium joined by Chinese and Indonesian firms and KCIC, a China-Indonesia joint firm tasked with monitoring the project.
The 142-km-long railway project is the first of such in Indonesia as well as in the whole region of Southeast Asia.
It is expected to be built in three years and the high-speed train could reach a speed of 350 kilometers per hour.
The HSR would shorten the traveling time between the two cities from three hours to 40 minutes and spur economic activities along the line.