Street hawkers not illegal but informal
Selling foods in the street is not illegal but informal which is basic part of the larger macroeconomic structure all over the world was stated by Druk Nyamrup Tshopa ( DNT) in press release issued last Wednesday.
The party collected the views shared by street hawkers from Thimphu, Samtse, Zhamgang, Haa, Tashiyangtse, Mongar, S/ jongkhar and Punakha on how the ban has affected their living standard and said that prohibition is not an option.
About 43 hawkers in Thimphu stopped selling Thukpa ( porridge) and other items on the street considering it as illegal by police officials last month. The decision came after discussion among officials from Royal Bhutan Police, Department of Trade, Thimphu Thromde and Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority in May earlier this year.
“DNT would like to advocate building ‘ inclusive cities’ not ‘ world- class cities’ that would exclude the majority of our population, especially the poor,” and said the country’s urban policies are unreceptive towards the informal traders.
“There is no law” the party said that they checked the laws and policies to see if Thukpa selling was really illegal and also to find out whether there was any law in restricting street sellers from doing their simple business.
“Apart from illegality, selling food on the streets has issues related to sanitation and hygiene, littering and creating conducive environment.” said Police Chief, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel
The press release also mentioned that harming them would be creating inequality through injustice, further widening the gap between the rich and poor in the country. The party also insists act is not only a serious issue of ‘ economic injustice’ but also that of ‘ social injustice’ as most of them come from low income group.
“When you weave Kira/ Gho, grow vegetables, fruits, rice, and other cash crops and sell, you don’t have license but your weaving business is not illegal, it’s informal; similarly when you make thukpa and sell, you don’t license but your thukpa business is not illegal, it’s informal.” the press release stated.
DNT stated that informal economy is here to stay. The Parliament, the Government, and the society must recognize that informal economy is a permanent feature of the economy, polity and society.