Lalitpur set to enforce ban on sidewalk businesses along Mangal Bazar-Lagankhel road from December 10
December 6, 2023 08:59 PM NPT
By: Sara Pahari
KATHMANDU, Dec 6: Lalitpur Metropolitan City has announced a stringent ban on sidewalk businesses from Mangal Bazar to Lagankhel, effective from December 10.
A notice issued by the Lalitpur City Police Force reads: “Due to the fact that sidewalk shops in established areas of Lalitpur Metropolitan City are obstructing pedestrians and vehicles in places of historical and cultural importance, it has been prohibited to keep sidewalk shops in Mangal Bazar to Lagankhel areas from December 10, 2023.”
The decision, spearheaded by Lalitpur City Police Chief Sitaram Hachhethu, aims to alleviate burgeoning congestion caused by an unprecedented surge in sidewalk vendors.
“The number of street vendors increased drastically from around 50 to over 300 individuals with vendors flocking from neighboring Kathmandu after a similar ban was imposed there,” said Hachhethu, adding, “This has significantly impeded the seamless flow of commuters along this route.”
Hachhethu shed light on a concerning trend wherein traders operating from the shutters of shops along the Mangal Bazar-Lagankhel road were purportedly extorting up to Rs 20,000 monthly from vendors seeking permission to vend their wares on the sidewalks.
"The rampant malpractice of demanding exorbitant sums for sidewalk space had to be curbed," said Hachhethu.
However, the ban that underscores the complexity of balancing commerce and public convenience, emerges as a clash between livelihoods and urban planning.
This stringent measure to regulate the burgeoning commercial activities encroaching upon the pedestrian paths has inadvertently placed the livelihoods of vendors at stake.
“These sidewalks are not just spaces for commerce; they are our means of survival," says Sanjay Maharjan, a footwear vendor in Mangal Bazar, reflecting on the ban's potential impact.
Rina Tamang, a mother of two, was kicked in her belly when Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) cracked down on street sellers in January. Tamang, currently residing in Kupondole, had moved her stall to Mangal Bazar in March. “I am struggling to make ends meet for my family,” Tamang said, “I don't know how we'll manage if I can't sell here anymore.”