Editorial – Of Vending space and parking woes

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Leader writer: Paojel Chaoba The sight of  Imphal city has taken a new appearance in the last few days. Following the decision of the state cabinet to relocate the street vendors and to ban parking of vehicles at the major roadways inside the bazaar area, the streets of Paona Bazar, Thangal Bazar, BT Road and others have become quite very convenient for traffic.
Many have applauded the state government decision for bringing about the change. Now, pedestrians can move about freely and the congestion on the streets has been eased.
The flipside of the matter can  as of present is that the street vendors have taken a different stance, decrying the cabinet decision to relocate the street vendors, the women have staged protests in demand that the vendors should be allocated vending space inside the municipality areas, the main reason of the women is the lack of customers at Lamphel and the amount of sales which can be conducted in a day will be less.
The women vendors mostly belonging to the weaker section of society and coming from the rural areas to sell their wares have a certain daily income amount from conducting sales on the street sides.
The women also know a proportionate amount of vegetables and other items including fish which can be sold in a day. Moving into another new business area , the vendors are skeptical that there will be lack of customers and their daily income will be affected which will also have a domino effect on the family budget.
The new market place allocated at Lamphel supermarket  is also an unexplored area for conducting sales, at recent  the vending spaces have been grabbed up front by the locals of the vicinity after some of the vendors started moving in on May 2.The market also remains chaotic due to improper arrangement of the vendors, one cannot find the items as easily when the vendors were sitting at the roadside. The places where one can avail U morok, mushrooms,fish,banana leaves or a myriad of other edible items is in complete disarray. After all, one has become accustomed to their favorite vendors and their favorite marketing sites.
Though, it is too early to speculate whether the alternative arrangement of the women vendors at Lamphel will take off or not, as with time, the market may also boom and the vendors may earn more than they did at the roadsides as the market has been compacted at one specific area.
Whereas, the vendors are having a tough time as there is no infrastructure to shield them against the harsh weather conditions, being an open air market, the vendors are susceptible to the elements. The state government needs to improve the structure of the Lamphel market even if on a makeshift basis. The urgency needs to be addressed at the earliest as to quell the protest of the agitating women vendors, as out of compulsion, 25 women were also imprisoned lately and to push their demands further, a general strike has also been called by the “JAC against the decision of state cabinet for street vendors of Khwairamband Keithel”. Moreover, the issue of connectivity to the Lamphel market must also be focused by the government as connectivity is another issue for the potential market goers, the dilapidated RIMS road had been lying impassable for quite a long time, causing angst to the locality and also for patients transported to the hospital. Proper connectivity is a must for development of any new business establishment.
Alongside, another problem is the parking woes faced by the public. As ,Thangal Bazar and Paona Bazar etc are the commercial hub and for every purpose under the Sun, the public needs parking space to shop and transport from the market places. The current problems faced by both shoppers and shopkeepers are mutual ,as one wants to buy and another to sell and both are left high and dry due to the unavailability of parking space. Though the free movement of traffic is a godsend ,but when one wants to shop for goods ,then the task becomes an impossible one.
The government needs to chalk out the plans in a responsible manner and address the problems with foresight, for if the free flow of traffic and parking problem can be addressed mutually, it will be an achievement of the SPF governance. The solution yet remains elusive and it is up to the government to provide the solution. If the Naga Nullah project taken up from Nagamapal upto Keisamthong can be completed in record time ,then parking space can be given throughout the entire stretch and the public will be facilitated the most. Connectivity to the Bazar area can be created if the narrow lanes can be  broadened for transporting purchased items. As concrete slabs will be constructed over the Naga Nullah which can provide adequate parking space and the by lanes will connect the market place and shoppers. The government needs to act fast and with conviction so as to address the current predicament faced by the public.

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