Hawkers told to go

Business: Thimphu will no longer have people selling thukpa, momo and tea along the streets.

Chief of Police, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, informed 43 hawkers yesterday that mobile business is illegal.

If people are found selling food items along the streets, they will be seized and disposed off.

The decision came after discussion among officials from Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), Department of Trade, Thimphu Thromde and Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) in May.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said that apart from illegality, selling food on the streets have issues related to sanitation and hygiene, littering of a place and creating conducive environment for crime.

“People from all walks of life, including young people, eat from the streets and loiter the whole night in town creating trouble,” Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said.

From last year to date, a total of 104 cases of malicious mischief, display of weapon, intoxication, battery, larceny, possession and illegal transaction of controlled substances and prowling have been reported late night on the streets.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said that mobile business is a source of food for youth and crime.

The hawkers shared their grievances and requested the authority concerned to allow them to sell food on streets on the condition that they will clean their own waste.

Ugyen Lhendup, 33, a hawker, said that it is his only source of income. “We sell food on the street because we cannot afford to pay for a permanent shop,” he said.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said that he understands the hawkers’ grievances but law doesn’t permit hawkers to sell food on streets and the authority doesn’t have the right to make law.

“If you are willing to do a business, get a licence and do a proper business,” Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said. “There are many other legal ways to make a living.”

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel also said that all the drayangs, discotheques and karaoke in the city should close by 10pm for security reasons until November 11.

Dechen Tshomo

1 reply
  1. meto pema
    meto pema says:

    In my oppinion, selling food on the street is not illegal. It is an informal business just like picking up vegetables from your garden and selling it. You do not need a licence to weave and sell off your own Gho or Kira. You do not need a license to sell of your cash crops, do you? That is non formal business but not illegal. If it is at all illegal to sell food on the street, why only sezie and dispose them? You have to penalise him/her for doing the illegal job.
    Instead of chasing them off, it would be better for the Authority to allocate an area/space with dustbin facilities, collect some taxes from the vendors and employ some cleaners and allocate specific timings to sell their product. This will do good for the economy, vendors and also for the customers. In case of customers consuming unhygienic food, it is the duty of Authority to train the vendors in preparing hygienic food. Train them and charge them fees if required, but train them anyhow. Let them live, let the customers enjoy street food if they want to. Look for other options and let them earn their Living please.

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