Govt plans to build 15 new cities in ‘high hills'

Kathmandu, July 23

The government has planned to build 15 new cities in the hilly areas of 11 different districts. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has planned to establish the new cities under a programme titled ‘Himali Trans Trail Cities', which will include different high-hill districts.

According to Mohammad Estiyak Rai, minister for urban development, the government has plans to build new cities under the concept of equal development in every province, except Province 2, which is located in the Tarai region.

As per the plan, MoUD has selected Lukla of Solukhumbhu; Nung Valley and Kimathanka of Sankhuwasabha; and Fungling, Ghunsha and Olanchungola of Taplejung in Province 1. Likewise, Syafrubesi of Rasuwa district and Jiri of Dolakha district have been selected in Province 3.

Moreover, Jomsom and Kagbeni of Mustang district and Chame of Manang district have also been selected in Province 4. Likewise, Simikot of Humla district and Dunai of Dolpa district in Karnali Province and Martadi and Kolti of Bajura district have also been selected in Province 7.

The government has planned to conduct a study to build integrated settlements in new cities with needed infrastructure and also develop them as new tourism destinations.

“This concept of the government to build new cities will not only provide better facilities to the people residing in those areas but also help boost tourism which in turn will help the locals improve their livelihoods,” said Rai. “Since it is difficult to build physical infrastructure in the hill regions we have opted for integrated settlements so that all the locals will have access to better facilities.”

In the first phase, MoUD has plans to complete the initial feasibility study and in the second phase it has plans to conduct a further study on how the settlements could be integrated.

Minister Rai mentioned that the government has already separated the needed budget for the study and if there is need for more funds, the government will provide the additional amount.

“In 2011, the government had planned to develop 10 new cities along the Mid-Hill Highway. However, since the responsibility to develop those 10 cities has been assigned to the respective provincial governments, the federal government has chosen these new cities,” he added.

As per Rai, MoUD will start conducting the relevant study in Lukla, Simikot, Jomsom, Martadi and Syafrubesi and complete the initial feasibility study by this fiscal year. The ministry has already allotted Rs four million for this purpose. After the pre-feasibility study, MoUD will then prepare the detailed project report of the sites.