Archipelago

Cities gearing up for New
Year celebrations

Authorities in regions across the archipelago are busy putting their final touches on preparations for the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In Bandung, West Java, the local authority has planned to completely close the 3-kilometer Jl. Ir. H. Djuanda, popularly known as Dago, for nine hours, beginning on Monday at 6 p.m.–3 a.m. the following morning. This particular road section has always been a bottle neck for traffic jams in the city.

“But we will allow vehicles heading to Borromeus Hospital to pass through,” said West Java Police traffic director Sr. Comr. Imam Pramukarno on Friday, adding that a number of parking areas had been prepared to support the measure.

Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI) Bandung, Momon Abdurachman, said that he had sent notices to hotels operating in Dago to ask their respective guests to enter the hotels before 6 p.m. for their convenience.

Holiday Inn Bandung’s public relations officer Anggia Elgana said she had reminded hotel guests to enter the hotel through the back entrance. “We do this every year because Dago is congested every New Year’s Eve,” she said.

The same car-free night concept is also to be applied in Pekanbaru, Riau Islands, along the 500-meter Jl. Gajah Mada from 9 p.m. on Monday until 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

The street has been one of the most popular spots in the city with its New Year’s Eve parade.

Separately, Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation head Surono, called on people to maintain distance from Mount Bromo, East Java. He said that the volcano was still in its third highest alert status and was still spewing toxic gas.

“When it is cloudy, it is feared that dangerous gas such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide will float in the air,” he said, suggesting that visitors enjoy Mt. Bromo from the Pananjakan area located across
the volcano.

He also said that there were currently five volcanoes that people were not allowed to climb because they were in the second highest alert status.

They are Mt. Lokon in North Sulawesi, Mt. Rokatenda in East Nusa Tenggara, Mt. Karangetang in North Sulawesi, Mt. Raung and Mt. Ijen, both in East Java.

Meanwhile in North Sumatra, the Rp 3.6 billion (US$373,561) annual Lake Toba New Year festival was officially opened on Friday by acting Governor Gatot Pujo Nugroho in Girsang Sirpangan Bolon, Simalungun regency.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Gatot said that the festival was held at the end of the year to draw more tourists.

The festival will host a variety of art and cultural performances, traditional sports competitions and
exhibitions.

As for security during New Year’s, Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Didiek S. Triwidodo has ordered the police in his jurisdiction to shoot anyone endangering the lives of both police officers and the community during the celebrations.

“I will take responsibility if a criminal is shot dead, not the officer who pulled the trigger,” he said in Semarang on Friday, adding that the police had the jurisdiction to do so.

Apriadi Gunawan and Ainur Rohmah contributed to this story from Medan and Semarang

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