Street vendors angered by new night market arrangements
STREET vendors yesterday vented their discontent over stall allotments at the new night market on Strand Road, with some not selected saying they’ve drawn a short straw.
Yangon’s night market, an initiative of Yangon City Development Committee, sits along Strand Road spanning Kyauktada and Lanmadaw townships. The municipal authority had opened the market with the intention of relocating vendors from the busiest of downtown’s choked roads.
According to YCDC’s vendor list, there are a total of 6041 street vendors operating on the 11 busiest roads in downtown Yangon. But just over 1600 of these were picked for relocation to the new night market. Fruit and food vendors were offered spots as a priority.
In a November 28 press conference facilitated by the Myanmar Journalist Network, street vendors from Latha, Pabedan and Kyauktada townships said the limited number of slots at the new market were arbitrarily doled out by YCDC.
“There are many vendors who were not chosen who have sold for a long time, while there are many vendors who have relocated to the night market even though they have only been selling for a short time,” said fruit seller U Than Oo.
Vendors left on the city streets say they face costs of doing business that those picked for the new market no longer have to deal with.
“Some house owners on small streets are asking K100,000 [US$77] per month for the small space in front of their houses. If things are kept in there, we have to pay K500 or K1000 per day, as well as K100 per bucket of water,” U Than Oo said.
YCDC suggested that vendors not selected for the night market ought to consider selling on the city’s smaller side streets. However, vendors say there are many notices around town that state explicitly that this is not allowed.
Latha township vendor U Aung Ko also suggested that the process for selecting vendors to relocate to the new market may not have been entirely fair.
“I think they should do it by drawing lots. We assume that they gave the opportunity to [those with good relations with the authorities],” he said. Fruit seller
Vendors left on the streets face ever-increasing restrictions on where they can park and sell. Vendors who were selling on the major northsouth roads in Yangon (Bogyoke Aung San, Anawratha, Mahabandoola, Merchant and Strand roads) as well as those linking east and west (Pansodan, Sule, Shwedagon, Latha, Lanmadaw and Phone Gyi roads) are no longer allowed to operate. Failure to abide by the new YCDC regulations will see them potentially face legal action or fines.
“If they arrest us, where can we go to sell? Many unfair things have come up [as a result of this new market],” said U Aung Ko. “They have places for only 1600 shops – out of the over 6000 existing stallholders.”
The night market on Strand Road, which opened on November 23, is open 3-11pm. Vendors there must pay a K500 registration fee for a year and they have to pay for daily water use, as well as cleaning and electricity fees.
In response to the claims made at the press conference, YCDC says stallholders must now register their interest in the night market and should bring their grievances through the correct channels.
“We have already told them – if they will not have their photo taken and they will not register, we will not have a place for them. If they don’t have a place, they should submit the issue to us,” YCDC’s Department of Planning deputy U Nyi Nyi Oo said. – Translation by San Layy
‘There are many [street] vendors who were not chosen who have sold for a long time.’
U Than Oo