Tuesday Jul 5, 2022
Tuesday Jul 5, 2022

Street Vendors: Business or Burden?

Dhanpati Sapkota, "It’s not that we really don’t want them to do it, but they should do it in a more organized (formal) way"


Nepalnews
2022 Jan 03, 16:32, Kathmandu
Vegetable market in a managed way in Machhapokhari, Kathmandu on July 16, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/NepalNews

Balaju Bypass is one of the noisiest and crowded shopping areas, filled with street vendors, causing problems for passing pedestrians. Due to the traffic jams caused by the street vendors through the mobilization of local police and community development only allow vending till morning 7 am and evening after 7 pm.

Arjun Pokhreal, legal street vendors in Bypass, Kathmandu. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Arjun Pokhreal, legal street vendors in Bypass, Kathmandu. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

Arjun Pokhreal, a legal street vendor in Bypass has been running his clothing business for almost 15 years. Talking about other street vendors, Pokhreal explains, “We understand that they have to do it for their livelihood, it’s their necessity but they should do it in a more organized way. It is creating problems for other people which is not good. Every day people have to face traffic jams even though the road is big. There is no proper waste management. They put shops in specific areas, pollute the area and just leave.” Talking about the business end of things, he claims that people who are vending in the street have been earning more than us.

Dhanpati Sapkota, head of the Capital's Municipal Police,
Dhanpati Sapkota, head of the Capital's Municipal Police,

Dhanpati Sapkota, head of the Capital's Municipal Police, says, “Our main role is to manage the hurdles in the city which have been causing problems to citizens. Being a capital city of the country consisting of many historical and tourism places, it is really important to conserve this area.”

Sapkota explains, “There are lots of shops, showrooms, and shopping malls in every part of the valley. They all are authorized shops that pay rent and taxes. Even if there are no street vendors, people will still have the option to buy goods in those markets. Talking about street vendors, they don’t have to pay rent nor taxes and aren’t registered shops but causing problems to the public which we really don’t want. It’s not that we really don’t want them to do it, but they should do it in a more organized (formal) way. We have seen many cases where customers have been cheated. For example, if any of those vendors sell some goods at higher prices or sell some damaged products then where will customers complain? Those vendors keep on changing their places. There are no records of their goods, qualities, prices and what will customers complain about?

A flock of Chicken in Machhapokhari, Kathmandu on July 16, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/NepalNews
A flock of Chicken in Machhapokhari, Kathmandu on July 16, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/NepalNews
Crowd of people in Machhapokhari, Kathmandu on July 16, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/NepalNews
Crowd of people in Machhapokhari, Kathmandu on July 16, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/NepalNews

Talking about authorized shops, they have to pay the rent and register their shops from where the government also gets taxes. Customers have bills where they can file complaints if they are cheated by shopkeepers in pricing and qualities which means there is a medium to arrest those shopkeepers.

Pokhreal said, “We are paying rent for our shops, and for the sanitation. The vendors don’t have to pay taxes, they keep on shifting from one place to another. Overall, they have been earning more than us.”

Bishnu Chandra Dawadi, a street vendor in Bypass, Kathmandu. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Bishnu Chandra Dawadi, a street vendor in Bypass, Kathmandu. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

Bishnu Chandra Dawadi, a street vendor who has been selling fruits in his cart, sharing his experience, said, “Metropolitan police have already taken away my cart 2 times. Now the laws are strict and there is no way we can get our stuff back. But in previous times, they used to take the cart but return the food items once we pay the price.”

Dawadi, talking about why he hasn’t rented a shop, said, “Once I had a shop in the street, but it didn’t run well. On Main Street, rent is too high to pay. So, I decided to continue to sell fruits in a cart. There is always that risk of being a street vendor, we never know when the authorities might come, and take our livelihood away.”

Street vendors in a narrow road.
Street vendors in a narrow road.
Street vendors arranging vegetables to sell.
Street vendors arranging vegetables to sell.

In most of the places, their local bodies have given a schedule where street vendors can actually place their shops. “There is no schedule for us on duty and law should be equal to everyone. We do not look after the shops but have to check on what is affecting the city which can be anything from vehicles to carts. We can’t work every hour so we usually focus on the time period where the street gets busy,” says Sapkota.

“The goods which are seized by the police are auctioned to the government. We don’t return the goods once we have seized them. Every year, we manage to collect over 20-25lakhs from the auction.” exclaims Sapkota.

READ ALSO:

Street Vendors Business or Burden Dhanpati Sapkota Capital's Municipal Police Markets nepal Traffic Jams Nepal Police Street vendors article street vendors in Nepal
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