Count puts street vendors at 10,000

- SAMIK KHAREL, Kathmandu

May 19, 2014-

The population of street vendors in Kathmandu is 10,000, the data collected by the organisation representing them over a week shows.

The move is aimed at facilitating the government in finding designated areas for them to sell their wares out in the open.

Last week the vendors turned down the offer of five zones reasoning that the space would be insufficient to accommodate all the evicted street businesses. In response, they initiated a drive to gather relevant information. On Monday, the data was handed in to the traffic police for submission to the Home Ministry. Personal details, citizenship copies and photos of all the vendors evicted in a government crackdown in January were taken into account.

According to Raj Kumar Shrestha, deputy general secretary of the Nepal Self-employment Business Workers, the data has been grouped under three categories along the current earning conditions of the vendors.

“On the first priority list are those who don’t have any alternative and depend solely on street business. The third category includes those having another means of sustenance,” said Shrestha. “Our main concern is to help out those in the first and second categories.” Around 2,000 people have been listed in the first priority while 3,000 and 5,000 fall in the second and third categories.

Despite the data being collected and forwarded to the government, vendors say the government has paid little attention to their pleas. “We continue to be ignored,” said Shrestha. “We hope this data will come to our aid.”

A taskforce was formed three weeks ago, with representatives from the government and vendors to identify alternative vending spots. The locations recommended by the taskforce include pavements on Koteshwor-Jadibuti road, areas west of Kalanki-Balkhu road, area east of Om Hospital in Chabahil, pavement north of Pashupati-Airport road and the pavements on the stretch from Tukucha Bazaar to Nepal Tourism Board.

However, the vendors have been saying these areas will not be adequate to accommodate them all and that they will not accept it until every displaced vendor gets a place for business.

They have also  urged the government to reopen Khulamanch as an alternative zone to accommodate the displaced vendors of Sundhara, Jamal and Ratnapark.

Published: 20-05-2014 10:25

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