Hawkers the owners of Nugegoda pavements?
During the previous (PA) administration the Kotte MC used to lease the Nugegoda pavements twice a year, the S & H New Year and the Christmas season to hawkers. This continued for several years despite protests through the press and reportedly a court order restraining the Mayor from doing so. Pedestrians suffered immensely because they were pushed to the road during these periods exposing them to the danger of being knocked down by vehicles. Fortunately, nothing of the kind happened and even the LTTE didnt think of exploding a bomb as happened at Maharagama some time ago. The whole place was littered with polythene which finally clogged the drains leading to environmental problems. The MC did nothing about it.
For the last few days I have seen several carts used by "mobile hawkers" on Nugegoda pavements. I am informed that one hundred such carts have been allocated for Nugegoda and if it is so, all the pavements of Nugegoda will be occupied by them and the pavements will become the permanent property of hawkers, and the pedestrians will be driven out to the road for ever. This provision of carts for hawkers is said to be one way of solving the unemployment problem and the beneficiaries are said to be poor people trying to eke out a living. But according to reliable sources they are only thugs from other areas, and not Nugegoda, who help politicians during election time.
There is no need to harp on the inconvenience caused to the pedestrians, the rightful owners of the pavements, by the short-sighted policy of the MC run not by the Mayor but someone above him whose bidding he has willy-nilly to do. If there is a law, it must be enforced uniformly throughout the country. This is not happening. While pavements are cleared of hawkers in certain areas like Kandy in others, politicians legalise it. The whole problem is that in Sri Lankan politicians are deified and the public are not prepared to resist their action through fear of reprisal.
The most basic fact that the Mayor should bear in mind is that under no circumstances
should he do anything that would deprive the fundamental rights of thousands of
pedestrians and thousands of school children from four schools in the area who use the
pavements daily in order to find jobs for a handful of henchmen.
|NEWS | FEATURES | BUSINESS | EDITORIAL | CARTOON | SPORTS | MIDWEEK|