The Irrawaddy

Rangoon Govt to Upgrade Markets With More Space for Relocated Roadside Hawkers

RANGOON — During its current term, the Rangoon divisional government has pledged to upgrade all 176 markets in the commercial capital and establish centers for hawkers currently working along roadsides.

“We’ll upgrade 176 markets within our term because many markets are in Rangoon’s downtown area. We need car parking spaces as well as hawker centers in order to create convenience,” said Rangoon Division chief minister U Phyo Min Thein at a press conference on Thursday.

The event was held at the Rangoon Town Hall and promoted the Rangoon Living Street Experience scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, which aims to raise public awareness of community-based improvements to the historic Rangoon cityscape.

In Rangoon’s municipal areas, markets are operated under the supervision of the city’s municipal authority, better known as YCDC (Yangon City Development Committee). The committee recently relocated more than 1,600 street vendors to a newly designated Strand Road night market in the third week of November.

“Hawker centers are intended for those who [currently] sell things by the roadside. Very soon, we will also upgrade Mingalar Market to have hawker centers and car parking,” said Daw Hline Oo Maw, member of YCDC.

According to the YCDC, registered street vendors number over 6,000 across the city’s four townships in the downtown grid—Lanmadaw, Latha, Pabedan and Kyauktada—with more than 1,000 such individuals operating stalls in each township.

The relocation of street vendors was carried out to regulate traffic woes on 11 major downtown streets: Anawrahta, Bogyoke, Mahabandoola, Pansodan, Merchant, Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Latha, Lanmadaw, Phone Gyi and Strand roads. Selling goods along these 11 major roads has been prohibited as of Dec. 1.

Remaining street vendors in Kyauktada Township will be relocated to Bank Street between Strand Road and Maha Bandoola Street, she said. The Strand Road night market is now also open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. for sellers of meat and vegetables.

“In relocating to the night market, we prioritize eateries and fruit shops. We also prioritize street vendors on the main street and we allow them to sell in lanes. The night market is now open in the morning, as well as from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” Daw Hline Oo Maw said.

However, dozens of individual street vendors have complained that they were not provided sufficient space to sell their goods. Despite warnings from chief minister U Phyo Min Thein of legal action against selling goods on the city’s major roads, many street vendors remain.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko