The Chinese government through its state-owned China Hi-Tech Group Corporation has pledged to invest US$6 billion in southern Central Java to develop a container port and integrated industrial zones at a number of locations in Wonogiri regency.
In the implementation, the Chinese company will cooperate with Sukoharjo-based PT Sritex textile company as a main partner in which the former will develop cement factories while the latter will develop a textile factory in the planned industrial zone.
“We are part of the investment. Hopefully the textile industry will absorb a huge number of manpower,” PT Sritex general affairs manager Sri Saptono Basuki said on Tuesday.
The textile factory is to be built in the Alas Kethu region in Wonogiri district. The site was chosen because of its barrenness. The cement factories are to be built in Giritontro and Giriwoyo, while the container port is to be developed in Gunturharjo, Paranggupito district.
Sri Saptono said the investment was waiting for a decision from the State Secretariat on when exactly the development activities could start.
Another problem that may also hinder the implementation of the project is the unclear ownership status of the site, especially 366 hectares of land expanding 5.7 kilometers some 500 meters from the coastline in the three subdistricts of Gunturharjo, Gudangharjo and Paranggupito.
The site was bought by Batik Keris in 1989 and was initially planned to be developed into a resort. However, since 1995, the batik producer has not paid tax on the plot.
By law, ownership of land that has been abandoned for more than 20 years reverts to the state. If this is the case, 30 percent of the land will be distributed to the local community, 40 percent will be used for strategic programs and the remaining 30 percent will be retained by the state.
“Hopefully, we can start the project as soon as possible. Many positive things will result from the project, especially a reduction in unemployment in Wonogiri regency and its surroundings,” he said.
The project, according to Sri Saptono, is expected to result in at least 70,000 jobs, 60 to 70 percent of which will be prioritized for local residents. “Priority will be given to local residents because they will be the hosts [of the project],” he said.
He added that the textile factory would occupy some 524.8 hectares of the entire Alas Kethu area of 644.4 hectares. The remaining 119.6 hectares will be part of the field for special purposes (LDTI) area comprising research forest and buildings belonging to state-owned PT Perhutani and the Forestry Ministry.
Wonogiri regency councilor Sugiyarto has welcomed the project, saying that an industrial area would be more beneficial as most of Alas Kethu was barren and no longer a forested area.
Yet, he stressed the importance of an environmental impact analysis (Amdal), especially regarding waste, as the site was located in the downtown area. “No dangerous substances should remain in the waste as the site is located downstream of the Bengawan Solo River,” said Sugiyarto, who is also chairman of the regency legislative council’s Commission B overseeing the matter.