Kathmandu, May 28
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division in association with Kathmandu Metropolitan City has taken action against 21,541 street vendors for encroaching on footpaths so far this fiscal 2016/17.
Though the government had succeeded in evicting street vendors from footpaths of Kathmandu Valley in 2014, they had again reclaimed spaces meant for pedestrians. According to a figure maintained by the MTPD, traffic cops and KMC managed to get rid of 5,644 foot path encroachers in 2014/15, 17,597 in 2015/16 and 21,541 so far this fiscal.
Such encroachment has not only hindered hassle-free mobility of pedestrians but has also ruined the beauty of the city.
Deputy Inspector General Mingmar Lama, MTPD in-charge, said footpath encroachment in major as well as inner roads was contributing to traffic congestion and road accidents as pedestrians have no option but to walk on roads risking their lives. Spillover of pedestrians onto roads due to footpath encroachment is a common sight
in Sundhara, Bhotahiti, Ratna Park, Koteshwor, Swoyambhu, Kalimati, Kalanki, Bhotahiti subway, Shanti Batika, Khula Manch, Mahabouddha, Basantapur, New Road, Bhasitol, Ason and Balaju, among others.
Despite frequent crackdown, the number of street vendors continues to increase due to weak national economy and rising unemployment. People’s attraction towards cheap goods has also encouraged street vendors to set up stalls on footpaths, said traffic police officials.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had declared that the government had successfully removed street vendors from footpaths in the Valley on November 2014. But the move did not last long and street vendors started encroaching on the city’s sidewalks again, hindering pedestrians and ruining aesthetics of the city due to lack of monitoring.
Footpaths are often occupied by small-time traders who don’t pay any fee. If caught, KMC police snatches the wares from vendors and fines them Rs 500 before returning their goods. The fine is increased up to Rs 1,500 for second or third time offenders.The KMC has allotted space for vendors to sell their wares inside Khula Manch. The vendors can set shop on the footpaths only after 7:00pm.
A version of this article appears in print on May 29, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.