September 28, 2017 / 12:00 PM / 2 years ago

Indonesia to end moratorium on mega land reclamation project: minister

FILE PHOTO: Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Jakarta, Indonesia November 28, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia is set to end a moratorium on a $40-billion land reclamation project involving 17 artificial islands off the northern coast of the capital Jakarta, a senior government minister told Reuters on Thursday.

The ban was slapped on the project in April 2016 amid a bribery investigation by the anti-corruption agency and opposition from environmentalists.

“There is no reason to keep the moratorium because the legal things, the technical things are all already settled,” Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs, said in an interview.

The minister said he hoped by next week there would be a resolution to the matter, adding, “We are just waiting for another meeting and then we will announce.”

Jakarta, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, sits on a swampy plain and is sinking at a faster rate than any other city in the world.

Unable to stop the sinking, Jakarta has focused on bolstering its defenses with a 15-mile (24-km)seawall and refurbishing the crumbling flood canal system.

The master plan envisages the construction of artificial islands off Jakarta’s northern coast, where property developers, such as PT Agung Podomoro Land, plan to build shopping malls and attractions similar to Singapore’s Sentosa Island.

Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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