Khao San vendors protest BMA plan

Khao San vendors protest BMA plan

Clearing pavements 'threatens business'

Khao San Road goes about its business. Street vendors oppose a City Hall plan to clear pavement stalls. Patipat Janthong
Khao San Road goes about its business. Street vendors oppose a City Hall plan to clear pavement stalls. Patipat Janthong

A group of street vendors in Bangkok's Khao San Road area has submitted a letter to the city governor in opposition to City Hall's plan to clear stalls that occupy pavements in the popular tourist area.

Yada Phonphetrampha, who represents the Khao San street vendors, on Tuesdaysubmitted the letter of complaint to Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang via his secretary Kriangphon Phatthanarat.

The group was responding to Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans for a 48.8-million-baht renovation of the Khao San landscape between October and February next year, which were outlined by deputy Bangkok governor Sakoltee Phattiyaku.

The BMA should have garnered opinions from the affected vendors during the planning process, said Ms Yada.

For instance, the new zone designated for street vendors offers no shade, which will force vendors to construct awnings that will take up space and lead to stalls encroaching into the road.

Moreover, she said, the renovation will disrupt vendors' trade and revenue during the lucrative high season from September onwards.

The group called on the BMA to consider postponing the renovation to between May and August next year.

The Khao San vendors had been negotiating with the BMA over its regulatory attempts for a long time, she said, but no solution was in sight.

"We've been fighting [to protect our rights] for 391 days now and have lost more than 400 million baht [in income]," she said.

While the BMA plans to limit the operations of 240 Khao San vendors to the period from 4pm until midnight, the vendors want permission to sell their products from 9am while negotiations are pending. Vendors on nearby Ram Buttri Road, Sip Sam Hang Road and Tani Road are permitted to sell products from 9am until midnight, said Ms Yada.

The Khao San vendors' group will next meet with the BMA on Sept 3 at Phra Nakhon district office. Also in attendance will be representatives from Chana Songkhram police station and the Metropolitan Electricity Authority.

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