Source: Khmertimes By Muny Sithyna Sunday, 19 July 2015
PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Life as a street vendor begins as early as 4 o’clock every morning. As soon as dawn breaks, business hours begin for vendors in Kilometer 4 Market.
Spending over 10 hours a day sitting on street 138 between Tek Laok 1&2 communes, 33-year-old Srey Mao makes a living by selling fresh vegetables. For over 10 years, she has depended on the street to provide for her family.
“Before, I pay only a fifty-cent rental fee ($15 per month), now I have to pay $100 a month for the spot,” Ms. Mao said. “Price depends on the size of space they rent. Now, my business is not going well because the number of vendors has increased.”
Living all the way up near the Phnom Penh International Airport, Ms. Mao and her husband wake up at 4 or 5 every morning to restock their green veggies and unroll their mats.
Life is not much different for clothes seller Ming Oun, though she only lives a few blocks away. Ms. Oun starts to set up her stall at around 6 am every morning.
The 43-year-old vendor pays an $80 monthly rental fee to the house owner behind her stall for the tiny spot she has run her business out of for over six years.
Ms. Oun and Ms. Mao are among the one hundred unorganized street vendors on street 138 who are forced to pay monthly rental fees to the house owners who allow them to use the edge of their front door.
They also have to pay daily tariffs to market authorities even though they have no proper stall or booth set up like those in Central Market or Boeung Keng Kong Market.
“Market security collects tariffs and sanitary fees from us; 1,500 riels a day,” said Ms. Oun. “Everyday at 12 noon, garbage trucks come in to collect trash packed by the vendors.”
A Litany of Complaints
Many complaints have been made about bad traffic congestion caused by this unregulated market, but hardly any changes have been seen to manage this type of market.
“We used to get complaints from car drivers who could not pass through because we were selling on the street,” Ms. Mao said. “At peak hours when students finish classes, the traffic is very congested here.”
According to Ms. Mao, there have been requests asking the vendors to move to other markets, but the vendors did not agree, as the street has always been their source of income.
Ms. Oun also questioned the possibility of setting up an organized market for vendors in Km 4 Market, as the market is surrounded by people’s houses.
Similar long-standing problems were successfully tackled in Surakarta, Indonesia, where then-Mayor Joko Widodo, who is now the president of Indonesia, initiated the Street Vendor Management Program in 2005.
Over 3,000 street vendors in ‘Solo’, as it is called locally, were relocated to proper, cleaner sites. The relocation significantly improved the living standards of the street vendors and quality of the urban environment.
City Hall Spokesman Long Dimanche told Khmer Times that city hall is aware of the issue in the city. Plans have been made to properly address the issue.
“We are having problems with this disorder,” Mr. Dimanche said. “At some markets, the vendors sell literally on the street, causing the congestion and other traffic order.”
“We are trying to solve this problem from one market to another to educate the vendors. Very soon, we will see changes regarding the state of markets here,” said Mr. Dimanche. He declined to give specific details on the city’s future plans.