Street Vendors Need Viable Options

Street Vendors Need Viable OptionsStreet Vendors Need Viable Options

The ‘urban discipline’ scheme with the aim to stop street vending in the capital currently being implemented in some districts in Tehran will not be effective as long as it fails to consider alternative options of livelihood for street vendors,  says Abbas Salahi, a member of the Majlis Social Commission.

“In the absence of alternative options, it can threaten the livelihoods of many street hawkers who sustain themselves from earnings through sales of their wares on some of the main streets in the business districts,” the Young Journalists Club (YJC) quoted him as saying.

In the current economic conditions when there is rising unemployment and steep increase in living costs, the measure can be effective only temporarily. Further, banning street vending can lead to an increase in social harm, he said.

“More thought should be given to devising practical alternatives if hawkers are to be banned from the streets. If they are prevented from doing their business, how else are they expected to make a living?”

Abolqasem Chizari, head of Shahrban Company, a Tehran Municipality (TM) contractor, had recently stated that, “after the successful implementation of the first phase of rounding up street vendors in areas around the Tehran Grand Bazar (located in southern part of the city, District 12), the second phase is being implemented in two important landmarks in the capital, Tajrish and Haft-e-Tir squares.

“We will make all efforts to clear up the passages from peddlers before the start of spring when the Persian New Year (Nowruz) commences,” he added.

The first phase of the plan began on November 28, 2015 in District 12.

According to Mehr News Agency after rounding up vendors from the vicinity of the Tehran Grand Bazar, the municipality of District 11 established a market located in Iravini St., with a capacity for 150 vendors where they are allowed to sell goods on Saturdays and Wednesdays. But in the last two weeks of the current year (ends March 19) the market will be open on all days for Nowruz shopping.


However the market capacity is grossly inadequate as more than 1,300 street vendors have been rounded up Grand Bazaar area, according to the municipality.

The TM has plans to allocate another place (Bab Homayoon St. in the same district) to the remaining 1,150 vendors but each day a limited number of vendors, less than 200, can sell their wares. This means that each vendor can sell his goods only once a week.

Some hawkers believe that they can’t make good sales in the newly allocated places as the number of people visiting these areas is far less compared to the main bazaar.

The TM has promised to increase the number of markets across the capital. Till such time it would be better to put the urban discipline plan on hold because many people and their families depend on street vending for a livelihood.