The government said it will build four smart cities on the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley.

A meeting of the Cabinet on Monday decided to set up the smart cities in four different corners with proper urban planning in order to ease the population density in the Kathmandu downtown.

The Kathmandu Valley Development Authority has moved a step forward to develop a modern satellite city through a public-private venture that will transform a few selected areas into a modern urban centre offering high-quality services.

The government has invited expressions of interest to hire a company to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for a modern satellite city in the Kathmandu Valley, which is now known as ‘new town’.

According to the authority, Gundu, Balkot, Dadhikot, Duwakot and Changu Narayan in Bhaktapur, Bhainsepati and Saibu in Lalitpur and Sankhu in Kathmandu could be potential sites that can be turned into an upscale town.

The new town will be developed on 100,000 ropanis. Sankhu is likely to be piloted for a new town in the first phase. The government plans to start the development process in Kathmandu and then gradually replicate it in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts.

Likewise, the government has invited national bidders to prepare separate DPRs for the development of new towns each covering 10,000 ropanis in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts.

Urban Development Minister Arjun Narasingha KC gave the go-ahead to the authority to initiate the process of preparing the DPR. The government has allocated a budget of Rs150 million this fiscal year to prepare a land-use plan for the purpose of constructing a new town in the Valley within five years.

A high-level committee led by KC and consisting of four ministers and nine secretaries from relevant ministries has been formed to ensure things are done in a coordinated manner.

“We expect the DPR to be completed by the next fiscal year,” said Bhai Kaji Tiwari, chief executive officer of the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority. “Once the DPR is prepared, we will take the agenda to the Cabinet for its approval and initiate the town development process.”

Tiwari said that the original term ‘satellite city’ had been changed to ‘new town’ as the proposed infrastructure isn’t far and does not require an expressway to link it with the main city. A satellite city or town is an idea in urban planning that refers to an area located near major cities or metropolitan areas. The government has launched the plan to build a new town with the aim of better managing and easing congestion in the Capital by luring residents to move to the outskirts.

The new town will have modern amenities with well managed schemes for drinking water, electricity, sewage, hospitals, schools and government offices, among others.

As for the land required to develop public infrastructure in the new town, the government will adopt a land-pooling mechanism. At least 5 percent of the total land will be dedicated to the construction of public infrastructure including roads and open spaces.