KATHMANDU, June 25:One of the main duties of the city police under the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) office is to clear all kinds of obstructions along the roadside in downtown Kathmandu.
Almost every day, the city police chase away street vendors at various places, especially Sundhara, Rantapark and New Road areas, and clear the pavements. But it barely lasts for an hour. The cleared pavements again become full of street vendors as soon as the dust settles.
“The problem of street vendors along roadside has gone beyond our control,” the KMC's Implementation Division Chief Dhanpati Sapkota told Republica. “But we don't have enough manpower to manage the vendors in the streets.”
The KMC spends almost Rs 4.4 million monthly in salary and wages of the 175 city police personnel. But the division chief Sapkota said that they cannot deploy sufficient staff for the management of street vendors and blamed the government for not allowing the KMC to add new staff.
He said that the city police have tried their best to clear the roadside obstruction despite limited manpower.
He informed that the KMC has been deploying 175 city police personnel at various sites such as its section offices, waste management areas and to control parking of bikes in unauthorized zones. Dozens of them have been deployed at various section offices as security guards.
“Recently, 50 city police have retired. Our office hasn't cared to appoint the new staff,” he said. “The vendor management is not an easy business. So we don't have any option than chasing them away whenever we can.”
The newly published KMC's City Police Ruling, 2072 has prioritized the city police to control the street vendor along with 28 other job descriptions.
Sapkota also informed that the city police two years ago had tried to control the street vendors by setting a deadline to remove them from the roadside but the effort failed and no significant move has taken since then. He also said that his division needs at least 100 new recruitments to effectively clear the roadside on a regular basis.
But a source at the KMC claimed that the structure of the city police itself has problem and the force has been turning ineffective.
“Controlling street vendors and unauthorized parking along the roadside are considered as the most important duties of the city police but they are busy on other non-significant works," said a source requesting anonymity.
According to the source, the city police do not follow chain-of-command because of the political affiliation of the individuals and their share of spoils in irregularities with higher officials.
Maximum number of street venders have been doing their business at the busiest roads of the city such as Sundhara, New Road, Bagbazar, Ratnapark, Old Buspark, New Buspark, Kalanki Chowk, Balkhu Chowk among other places.