Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Mayor Balen Shah has told social campaigner Iih that one can’t be emotional about street vendors pointing that doing business on streets is illegal.
Addressing Iih (Ishan Adhikari) in a post on the social media Mayor Shah has revealed his position on Iih’s protest in seven points.
He has pointed that doing business on footpath, streets and right of way is illegal, and went on to claim that allotting certain time in the morning or evening for street vendors also doesn’t work as a large number of people including those without eyesight, pregnant women, sick persons and others in emergency would be affected.
He has also stressed that the KMC does not own any unused land to provide a place for the street vendors to do business.
He has also taken a swipe at politicians like KP Sharma Oli, Baburam Bhattarai, Kamal Thapa, Gagan Thapa and others calling their solidarity with Iih’s protest political dishonesty and an exercise for cheap popularity. He has pointed that the laws made by those leaders don’t allow doing business on the streets and stressed that they have never made any efforts to formulate laws to address the problem.
The dialogue between representatives of social campaigner Iih and the KMC ended inconclusively Tuesday night after the KMC stepped back from earlier commitments.
The KMC earlier had agreed to allow street vendors to do business at certain specified time at certain places until the Chhath festival considering the upcoming festivals.
“There was commitment to allow business at the places we proposed. The draft had even arrived to the vendors. But the proposal was changed once it reached the table of Mayor Balen Shah. All the efforts for dialogue failed. The doors of possibilities have closed. He changed the things agreed by his own representatives,” Iih told Setopati. “Mayor Shah has displayed such hubris and arrogance. Such leadership would be harmful not just for the KMC but the whole country.”
Iih added that Deputy Mayor Sunita Dangol had also given him assurances when she came to meet him earlier on Tuesday.
KMC Spokesperson and Chairman of Ward No 17 Navin Manandhar, who headed the team formed by the KMC for dialogue, claimed that ward chairs of the places where business was proposed to be allowed protested once news reports about the deal were published. “They asked why business should be allowed at their wards without consulting them. We, have, therefore, removed the name of places from the draft proposal. We have kept time for dialogue with the ward chairs,” Manandhar added.
He claimed that the vendors and representatives of Iih made the proposal public even as the proposal was being discussed.
Personal Secretary to Mayor Shah, Bhup Dev Shah, denied the allegations that the proposal was changed from the mayor’s table. “Draft is not an agreement. Conclusion of the demands was drawn. They made it public in course of discussion. This was the reason today’s deal could not be agreed. They refused when we sought a week for discussion,” he countered.
Campaigner Iih has been standing in front of the KMC office to remind Mayor Balen Shah and Deputy Mayor Sunita Dangol about their pre-election promises.
Iih has been standing in front of the KMC office since last Tuesday afternoon protesting what he calls inhumane treatment of street vendors by the KMC. Deputy Mayor Dangol met him after he clocked 165 hours in his standing protest.