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Power shortages hamper rural Indonesia

Sunday, August 07, 2011 - 02:11

Aug. 7 - Indonesia's hopes of becoming an economic powerhouse could be jeopardised by chronic electricity problems. Simon Hanna reports.

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Jakarta - the busy capital of Indonesia, and the city at the forefront of the country's bid to become an economic powerhouse. With growth of around 6.5 percent, Indonesia is hoping to become a world top-10 economy by 2025. But outside of the capital, it's a very different story. Basic infrastructure problems such as power shortages remain prevalent in some parts of Indonesia, potentially derailing the country's dreams of becoming a major economic power. Here in Lekoh Temor village in East Java Province, residents still struggle for light at night. Villagers say they feel left behind as other parts of the country develop and advance. (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) VILLAGER, MUNIR: "We have not achieved independence here, we do not feel the meaning of liberty." Government officials say 65 percent of the 235 million population have a power supply, but in some provinces that number is as low as 30 percent. The government authorities though aren't the only ones involved in providing residents with power. One NGO helps communities throughout Indonesia build hydropower plants. The co-founder of the organisation, Tri Mumpuni, says it's all about empowerment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER OF INDONESIA CENTRED BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC INSTITUTE (IBEKA), TRI MUMPUNI: "I am talking about empowerment, even though the subject is electricity but the bottom line is about empowerment. If we energize the community we empower them, then we can have sustainable supply of electricity." Some villagers have begun taking matters into their own hands by installing solar panels, even though they are ineffective during the rainy season. If Indonesia is to succeed in its bid to become a major economic powerhouse, it will have to succeed first in spreading power to its people. Simon Hanna, Reuters.

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Power shortages hamper rural Indonesia

Sunday, August 07, 2011 - 02:11