Selling foods on street is informal, not illegal: DNT

Hawkers: Selling of thukpa (porridge) is not illegal but ‘informal’ and one, which is an integral part of the larger macroeconomic structure throughout the world, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), stated in a press release, yesterday.

According to the press release, the party listened to the grievances shared by the thukpa sellers from Thimphu, Samtse, Zhemgang, Haa, Trashiyangtse, Mongar, Samdrupjongkhar and Punakha on how the ban has affected their livelihoods and said that banning is not an option.

Police officials last month informed 43 hawkers in Thimphu to stop selling their items as it was considered illegal. 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.

The press release stated that the country’s urban policies are hostile towards the informal traders. “DNT would like to advocate building ‘inclusive cities’ not ‘world-class cities’ that would exclude the majority of our population, especially the poor.”

DNT stated that when the party checked the laws and policies to see if thukpa selling was really illegal and also to find out whether there was any law in place restricting street vendors from conducting their businesses, the party said, “There is no law!”

Police Chief Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel in an interview last month told Kuensel that apart from illegality, selling food on the streets have issues related to sanitation and hygiene, littering and creating a conducive environment for crime.

DNT however insists that act is not only a serious issue of ‘economic injustice’ but also that of ‘social injustice’ as majority of them come from low-income group or the base of the economic pyramid. Harming them would be creating inequality through injustice, further widening the gap between the rich and the poor in the country, the press release stated.

DNT stated the examples of other ‘informal’ businesses such as weaving and farming as a business. “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 have license but your thukpa business is not illegal, it’s informal.”

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, stated the press release.

Younten Tshedup 

3 replies
  1. nakhap
    nakhap says:

    I think the DNT party should understand the chronology of law. Since when did these trade start affecting their lives? First the squatter settlement, then the vegetable vendors, and now the porridge sellers. What is going on in the town? And how can it be considered legal when they are not paying a single cent as tax? Haha yet another interesting choice of words “informal”.

  2. logical
    logical says:

    [Some comments have been removed by the moderator. Please refer to our forum rules and terms of use.]

    Standing against and opposing the thriving activities of life are expressions of CRUELTY against hard working, common Bhutanese. The authorities use lame excuses to justify swinging of IRON FISTS against the weak that do not possess law and authority as their rights. They BULLY and BULLDOZE the people to the extent of TRAMPLING SENSE in last remaining person. This is capable of leading to sane person to face psychiatric disorder. LAW, LAW, LAW, LEGAL, LEGAL, ILLEGAL etc. are mere rhetoric to cover different agendas hidden in the sleeves of the commanders that trample laws and legalities daily …

    This trend must change for peace, tranquil and prosperity in every section of the Bhutanese.

  3. bhutjolokia
    bhutjolokia says:

    this is the problem with RBP…they do not know what is law by themselves.
    PCB KN tries to clean the roads of Bhutan with iron broom, declaring this &that
    as illegal, just to celebrate his [Comment removed by moderator].
    i will never become a friend of police. my heart is with the hawkers, my compassion
    with all the poor out here.
    DNT is on the side of human rights.

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