Central gov’t takes over cleaning of Jakarta’s stinky Kali Item, official throws shade at Gov. Anies

Black nylon mesh covering up Jakarta’s Sentiong Canal in Kemayoran. Photo: Twitter/@radiosushifm
Black nylon mesh covering up Jakarta’s Sentiong Canal in Kemayoran. Photo: Twitter/@radiosushifm

The Jakarta Provincial Government’s curtaining off of the Sentiong Canal (locally known as “Kali Item”, meaning Black Canal) in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta to hide its putrid water and odor has been a major embarrassment in terms of the capital’s preparations (or lack thereof) for next month’s Asian Games. So much so, in fact, that the central government has decided to take charge of the situation.

According to the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry (PUPR), it has now taken over the cleaning of Kali Item — which lies right next to the dormitories that will house visiting athletes competing in next month’s games —  from the Jakarta administration.

“Kali Item is under the Jakarta Provincial Government’s jurisdiction, but we are taking over because there is no progress. There is certainly legal basis for the takeover because Jakarta is the capital city so there are special rules regarding its management,” PUPR official Firdaus Ali told Metro TV today.

Seemingly unable to help himself, Firdaus also tossed in some shade aimed at Governor Anies’ administration for their odd temporary “fix” of the canal.

“I think this (curtaining off the canal) is so magical. I have been to numerous countries in five continents to study water management, and this is the first time I’ve seen anything like it,” he said.

But Firdaus wasn’t done there. He said Anies can thank the ministry later when the canal is clean.

“I think he has no right to be angry that we are taking over his authority [of the canal]. Instead, he should be thankful. He can go ahead and claim, ‘oh, only in my term was Kali Item clean.’ Go ahead,” he said.

Oof. We await your response, Pak Anies.

According to a press release from PUPR, the ministry is working with the Jakarta Public Works Agency (so the Jakarta Provincial Government hasn’t been fully absolved of all responsibility over the cleaning of the canal) to pump the fetid waters of Kali Item away towards Sunter Canal. It remains to be seen if this will get rid of the nasty sight and smells in time for the Asian Games (which starts Aug 18) and there’s no word yet on whether or not the Jakarta administration’s infamous mesh covering will be removed.

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