Jul 1, 2018-Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has announced to remove street vendors and hawkers from pavements starting from August.
This is their umpteenth announcement. All previous attempts get rid of vendors have failed. However, KMC seems determined this time.
City police have booked 550 hawkers and vendors from all over the metropolis, according to a KMC report.
Police have seized carts of hawkers and stored them in Teku for auction.
Earlier, the metropolis returned the vendors’ goods items after holding them for a few days.
KMC City Police chief Bishnu Prasad Joshi said, “We shall strictly monitor all vendors from August. We plan to establish our permanent office in Teku.”
Ten years ago, a committee had recommended relocating vendors to Khulamanch, Tinkune ground, Kalanki and Balaju. The government did nothing.
Four years ago, the then Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam ordered to evict all vendors from the streets. Vendors protested against the KMC and the government.
Recently yet another task force formed to resolve this issue failed. Since then, scores of vendors are doing good business on major roads like Ratnapark, Sundhara, Koteshwor, New Baneshwor, Kalanki, Gongabu, Chabahil, and Gausala.
Every year, the metropolis books a large number of vendors doing business illegally on pavements. It has booked over 20,000 vendors over the last decade. The vendors paid fines from Rs 100 to 15,000 depending upon the aggregate value of their goods. The metropolis released them after one month.
According to the data given by Nepal Self-employment Business Workers’ data shows there are 10,000 street vendors in Kathmandu is 10,000. The KMC estimates it is around 7,000.
City planners say the number increased after the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. They cite socio-economic reasons for this. Displaced by the earthquake, people from rural areas migrated to Kathmandu in search of jobs and shelter. Most took up street vending.
The metropolis is clueless on where to relocate these migrants. Joshi claims this time, the metropolis would remove all vendors.
“Kathmandu roads and pavements are too narrow. Pedestrians are compelled to walk on the road because the vendors occupy pavements. This in turn causes many accidents,” he said. The Post asked Joshi how the metropolis would solve the problem of vendors encroaching pavements. “The metropolis is looking for an alternative place around the banks of Bagmati River,” he said.
National Consumer Forum President Prem Raj Maharjan slams KMC’s inabilities and its relocation plan. “How can these vendors run their trade near the stinking Bagmati River where there is no movement of people?” he asked.
Maharjan blames the government. “Look at the developed countries; they too have street vendors, but they are well organised. But, here it’s the government’s inability,” he said.
He accuses political parties for all these problems. “They talk of removing vendors from roads when they are in power, but have no suitable and sustainable plans. Later they support them ‘not to leave the place’ when they are out of power to garner their votes,” said Maharjan.
Maharjan alleged the City Police take bribes from vendors and allow them run their shops illegally. Small wonder, some city police target vendors on the footpaths of Kathmandu every day.