The people in Segun District, Sorong Regency, West Papua, has been longing for the presence of land road infrastructure. It has been years the community lives without land road. The condition has become the obstacle of local economic growth. They even find it hard to access health facility. “The community economy has not developed yet due to the absence of road access. So, the community (fisheries and agriculture) products are only for their own consumption because the transportation fare is too costly,” said the Segun Village Head, Yahya Kutumlas, on Tuesday, 5 October 2022.
Several villages without land road access here are Segun, Malamas, Gisim, Klajaring, and Waimon. To access these villages, the community commonly uses two kinds of transportation, land and river. From Segun Village to Sorong City, for instance, the locals will take an hour trip by Klasop River using longboat and stop at Kurnia Village in Moisegen District. Yahya said, to take one trip with many goods will spend up to 15 litres of fuel.
From Kurnia, the community rents a car cost Rp800,000 per person. The cost of rent car will be doubled or around Rp1,5 million if it is for commercial purpose. “The locals always seek several trips to town. They pay the transporation fare collectively and we (the village administration) should also pay for it,” said Yahya.
According to Yahya, the government built land road in August last year. Unfortunately, the road construction process stopped on the land clearance process. There was no concrete casting, let alone asphalt layering. The community could only use the inappropriate road condition for six months. As the road was abandoned, the grass has wildly grown up along the road. “It is out of service. The road is muddy and improper,” Yahya said.
The hope for land transporation has been unveiled by Klajaring Village Head, Stevanus Klawom. For 53 years dwelling in Klajaring, he has never had any land road facility. From Segun Village, Klajaring could be accessed in thirty minutes. The village here is deemed the most remote spot in Segun District administrative areas.
Stevanus said that land road access has always been listed on the local aspiration wish list when they met high ranking officials of Sorong Regency or other governmental institution. “The utmost priority for our aspiration is road. We have hope that in the near future it should be better. With (transportation) fare like this, we keep on struggling. It is impossible to lose hope and give up. No way,” said Stevanus.
The high cost of transportation is the only constraint. The capacity of longboat to sail through Klasop River depends on the high or low tide. High tide commonly happens in the morning and afternoon, despite the unpredictable condition. Sometimes, the locals should spend time waiting on their longboat
due to the condition of river water.
It once happened to Yahya in July 2022. Some Segun villagers and he should buy food supplies in Sorong City. They arrived at Kurnia Village at 1 in early morning due to the sudden low tide. At the time, the river water was not on high tide. The locals usually call “Konda” for such a situation.
Upon sailing through the sub Klasop River, a floating tree trunk could block the longboat access. Yahya and Segun peoples have no choice but rely on the high tide that could sink the tree trunk. They like it or not should spend the night on their longboat while waiting for the high tide.
“It was predicted to reach the destination village. But when approaching the deep water, there was collapsing tree trunk. People in this district has had the same experiences. So, we hope the government could promptly provide road access. This way, all (economic and people activities) could be revived,” said Yahya.
Editor: Leo Wahyudi