Municipal authorities in Mandalay have announced a crackdown on vendors and private home owners who continue using public spaces for business and personal purposes in the central Burmese city.
Officials on 8 July issued a 10-day notice, warning those who occupy public pavements with makeshift stalls or private equipment such as electricity generators to vacate or face fines of 10,000 kyat (US$8.50).
Mandalay City Development Committee assistance director Tin Soe said those continuing to encroach upon public spaces one month after this notice could also face prosecution.
The municipality said the areas it intends to clear include: downtown sidewalks including the busy 26th and 29th streets, and between 62th and 89th streets; as well as Theikpan Road, Manawhari Road and Sagaing Road.
According to the Mandalay municipality, more than 700 stalls or spots in those areas are frequently utilised by illegal hawkers.
But some local businesspersons, such as Shwe Pyi Oo Café owner Naing Aung, advocate harsher penalties for those who hawk on the sidewalks.
“But it shouldn’t be that those with enough money can just pay off [the authorities] and continue encroaching as usual,” he said.
To date, two vendors have been hit with 10,000-kyat fines since the 10-day warning period expired on 19 July.