KMC in bid to reclaim city’s footpaths

Kathmandu, February 5

On November 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs had declared that the government had successfully removed street vendors from footpaths in Kathmandu Valley. It claimed that as many as 16,664 footpath shops had been removed from the streets as part of a crackdown on street vendors.

But the move did not last long and street vendors started encroaching upon the city’s sidewalks again, hindering pedestrians and ruining the aesthetics of the city due to lack of monitoring on the part of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City and the police.

Following public criticism, the government has once again decided to swing into action against street vendors. The KMC has issued a one-week public notice to street vendors running their business on pavements illegally to vacate public property.

Chief Executive of KMC Rudra Singh Tamang said the metropolis would also remove illegal huts encroaching upon the streets and footpaths at Bhotahiti subway, Shanti Batika, Khula Manch, Mahabouddha, Basantapur, New Road, Bhasitol, and Ason. The metropolis is also taking help of police and locals to clear the areas.

According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, footpath encroachment in major as well as inner roads is contributing to traffic congestion and road accidents. Moreover, pedestrians have no option but to walk on the road, putting their lives on risk. Pedestrians spilling over into the roads due to encroachment of footpaths is common sight in Sundhara, New Baneshwor, Bhotahiti, Ratna Park, Koteshwor, Swoyambhu, Kalimati, Kalanki, Balaju, Sitapaila, and other places in the capital.

The KMC has allotted space for vendors to sell their wares inside Khula Manch. The vendors are to set shop on the footpath only after 7:00pm.

But city authorities have largely failed to keep vendors off sidewalks at other times. Footpaths are often occupied by small-time businesses where they 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.