|A temporary market on Nguyen Thiep Street in Ha Noi. The municipal administration has been trying hard to remove them, but they are an important source of income for poor migrants and remain very popular among the city's residents. —VNA/VNS Photo Thai Ha
HA NOI (VNS) — The municipal administration is finding that removing temporary markets and street vendors is a tough task, given their continued popularity among residents.
Officials have said temporary markets in urban areas have caused environment pollution and undermined traffic safety for many years.
According to the Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade, the city eliminated 89 out of 160 remaining temporary markets in the first half of the year.
Last year, 150 temporary markets were removed, the department said.
However, it has acknowledged that monitoring weaknesses have allowed several markets to spring up again.
The market near Thong Nhat Park on Dai Co Viet Street is an example. After the authorities forced the vendors away, they gathered in an area on the opposite side of the street a few days later.
Temporary markets can still be found everywhere in the city.
Almost all the streets in residential areas like Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung and Cau Giay districts are lined by hundreds of unlicensed stalls, and some residents have complained about the inconvenience.
"Temporary markets have taken over the pavements and roadsides. They operate in mornings and afternoons, polluting the environment and causing pollution and traffic congestion", said Tran Thanh Ha, a resident of Yen Hoa Ward in Cau Giay District.
"Moreover, the vendors and buyers cause a big noise in the morning. Sometimes, I want to move to another area. But I am not sure the new place will not have the same problem," Ha said, accusing the offenders of messing up a well-planned residential area.
In March, the municipal administration launched a campaign to intensify the clearance of street vendors and temporary markets from the city.
The campaign is part of efforts to implement an annual plan called 2015 - a year of urban civility and order. Officials said it is also part of a national plan to remove all illegal small traders from the city.
Tran Thi Phuong Lan, deputy head of the Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade, said removing temporary markets out of the city cannot be done overnight.
All sectors and agencies including the the city police, traffic and trade management units have to co-operate in this task, she added.
On the other hand, with increasingly scarce employment opportunities for rural-urban migrants, unofficial markets provided a badly needed livelihood for thousands. Such markets have existed for a long time, and are the preferred shopping option for many residents.
Since most vendors come from countryside and are poor, they do not have enough money to pay for a stall in big markets. So they have to sell in streets and temporary markets.
"I prefer to shop in temporary markets near my house than go to a supermarket," said Nguyen Thanh Van, a housewife in Thanh Xuan District.
"I see the foods and vegetables in the market are cheaper and fresher than in supermarkets. And I have gotten to know the vendors in the market," she said. — VNS