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Jalalabad roadside vendors causing ‘inconvenience’

Jalalabad roadside vendors causing ‘inconvenience’

Nov 16, 2017 - 19:29

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Provincial Council (PC) members, shopkeepers and residents of Jalalabad City, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, say the municipality has given footpaths to vendors against rent creating great inconvenience.

Meanwhile, the vendors say they are not sure if the rent they have been paying to the municipality officials is deposited to the national kitty or went to private pockets.

More than 2,300 vendors have occupied footbaths in different areas of Jalalabad City against 700 to 1,200 afghanis in rent per month.

The monthly rent includes 500 to 1,000 afghanis as municipality taxes, 10 afghanis as bank charges, 150 afghanis for personnel of public order and 50 afghanis as membership fee of vendors’ society.

The vendors say they use to deposit the rents at the Pashtani Bank but they do not know where the money goes from there -- government or private pockets.

Hundreds of people have benefitted from the opportunity to start businesses amid complaints about the process. According to people, more crowds are seen around vendors occupying roadsides, badly affecting the beauty of the city.

The PC members termed the municipality’s step to rent out roadsides to vendors as against the law but municipality officials said they were compelled to do so.

Who takes money from vendors?

Vendors say they give 700 to 1,200 afghanis to the municipality, 200 afghanis to individual in-charge of public order, and 10 afghanis as commission every month.

They say the money is collected by an elder of every street who hands it over to the Vendors Union.

A vendor at Dand Gharai area of Jalalabad City, who wished to go unnamed, said street elders collected the monthly rents from them 

Ahmad Waseel, another vendor, confirmed street elders collected money from them and handed that over to the union.

But both have no idea where the money goes.

Shahid, a vendor at the bracelet street, said he had been running his stall for years but only a few months ago municipality and union people started collecting rents from them.

Public, vendors, shopkeepers’ complaints

The Shopkeepers and Businessmen Union (SBU) says the growing number of roadside vendors has made it difficult for them to do businesses.

Azizurrahman Arab, deputy head of the Union, said the municipality had rented roadsides to vendors in fronts of their shops.

Shukrullah Jalandari, head of the Cloths Traders Union (CTU), said due to the presence of vendors, most of the garment shops were in losses.

He said they had shared the issue with the authorities concerned, but received no assurance. 

Local residents also complained against the vendors’ phenomenon. Commuting inside the city has become difficult, specially for women, they say.

Jamaluddin, a resident of Rodat district, who had to Jalalabad for shopping, said whenever his female family members had come to the city for shopping, they had complained of multiple problems.

“You can see there is no way to move or a free space in front of shops, most of the area is occupied by vendors, making it impossible for women to move.”

Nawaz Khan, a resident of the fourth municipality district, says the municipality has created huge problems for residents for the sake of revenue.

Criticism by the provincial council

Nangarhar provincial council deputy head, Dr. Lal Mohammad Durrani, said that stopping handcarts and taking money from their owners in the name of municipality tax was illegal. He said some figures were involved in the illegal practice to secure their personal interests.

He said they had several times investigated the issue and handcart owners had also complained about the municipality over demanding money from them.

But handcart owners did not talk in meetings with officials because they fear losing their work.

Durrani said he had no exact figures, but money was taken from thousands of handcarts as municipality fee.

Another provincial council member, Sayed Mahdi Pacha, also said stopping handcarts on roads and then taking money from their owners was against the law.

He said the municipality should find a solution to the problem because the appearance of handcarts everywhere affected the beauty of the city.

Peddlers association

Jalalabad Peddlers Association says they formed the body in compliance with orders from the municipality and they also have obtained work license from the Ministry of Justice.

The Jalalabad municipality says some 2,300 peddlers exist in the city while the peddler association head puts the number at 1,200 only.

The association said they collected 200 afghanis from each peddler to meet their office expenses and give salaries to 32 public order personnel.

The peddlers association gives 7,400 afghanis salary to each public order personnel and the amount of salaries they give to 32 personnel reaches 236,800 afghanis. The association says they collect 240,000 afghanis each month.

But municipality officials say the association collects money from 2,300 peddlers.

A public order personnel of the association, who wished to go unnamed, said that a part of the money went to the municipality.

Response of Jalalabad municipality officials

Acting Jalalabad Mayor Eng. Hakimuddin Omarkhel said peddlers were positioned in the city against the law. But he added there was no good alternative.

In response to shopkeepers’ complaints that their income has cut in half, Omarkhel said: “It is right that their income has affected, but it makes only one-fourth of their income that goes to peddlers.”

He said the municipality collected 1,000 afghanis from 70 percent of peddlers and 500 afghanis from the remaining 30 percent each month.

“The number maybe higher and rules would be applied in other parts of the city as well”, he said. “Each handcart generates jobs for three persons, it means nearly 7,000 people are busy”, the mayor argued.


He said in the past roads faced fr

equent blockades but now roads were open. About the money collected from peddlers, he said it was added to the municipality account and used for cleanness, reconstruction, repairing of roads and other welfare activities in the city.

Governor’s House

Governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, said the provincial government was monitoring the process and the governor’s house had so far received no reports about violations.

“This process is aimed at maintaining order in the city and enabling many people to eke out a living”, he said.

He said after the Jalalabad city became congested, the municipality devised a procedure to deal with handcars and peddlers and now they were organized. 



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