Monday, September 25, 2017

Sidewalk-obstructing vendors could get jail time

Gangway! Mandalay merchants who block the city’s streets could end up in jail if they persistently get in the path of pedestrians, authorities have warned. Starting July 15, in the six downtown townships of the Mandalay City Development Committee area, it will be an offence to encumber the pavement, platforms, drains or roadways.

Vendors and other potential offenders were warned on May 13 that the new rule was coming.

They will be forbidden to sell, display or “heap up” their products, stack construction materials, store furniture or install generators on the pavement, platforms, drains, roadways and intersections. No one may build houses, residences-cum-shops, shops, restaurants, mobile shops, brokers’ sales centres or shopping centres in the public’s path, on pain of being dealt with according to the laws and regulations of MCDC. This was announced in the Mandalay media and Yadanarpon newspaper on June 28.

“We’ve posted notices and levied fines before. This time, it’s serious. Any company applying for a business licence will be informed of the rules. The fine for a first offence is K50,000 [US$42], rising to K500,000 for a second, plus jail for one month to a year,” said Mandalay municipal sanitation czar U Soe Tint on June 28.

Residents have long complained that walking in the city is impeded by heaps of produce, lean-tos, generators and advertising signboards. All will now be swept away, as well as pushcart vendors who stop pushing, illegal purveyors of fuel and oil who set out their bottles and cans, and anyone who pitches a tent over a pavement, curb or gutter.