No overkill, please

The Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City is planning to regulate the business practices of at least 400 street vendors, who currently operate on busy road junctions, streets and pavements. The move could generate around Rs 2.8 million in monthly taxes. Earlier, a nine-member team comprising representatives of the government, Nepal Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Police, Town Development Board, Khudra Sadak Byapar Sangh and Sanyukta Byapar Byabasahi Sangh had prepared a study report on the street vendors of Kathmandu and Lalitpur. The report recommended that the vendors be registered with the municipality and charged a certain amount of tax depending on the types of business.

According to the report, a welfare fund should be set up with the revenue collected from the vendors, who should also be made responsible for cleaning the place where they operate their businesses. This scheme would help in maintaining smooth flow of traffic and keeping the streets clean. The unorganised sector needs to be regulated for its own good as well as of the public. However, the proposed arrangement should not harm the interests of the vendors to the extent that would affect their daily life. The majority of them depend on daily earnings to support their families. If they are unnecessarily harassed by the government authorities, it may give rise to new problems. The new regulations should be fair and transparent, with an in-built mechanism against exploitation by the enforcing officials.