Move to decongest commercial areas Relocating street vendors

No vehicles allowed to park at Paona Keithel. Street vendors told to pack up after 8 am everyday. The objective behind this move should be obvious to everyone. Decongest the already over crowded Paona Keithel, Thangal Keithel, BT Road and MG Avenue. One does not need to go to the above mentioned places to get a glimpse of just how crowded the commercial centres of Imphal are, and just go down Nagamapal stretch and one would be lucky to find an empty space to park one’s car or any vehicle that one takes along for the family shopping. The reason why these places are overcrowded does not need rocket science technology or a professional town planner to understand. The pity is, the Government also does not seem to know how to tackle the ever growing crowd at the places mentioned. The market shed just in front of Shankar Talkies has been developed and if what the Care Taker Mayor of Imphal Municipal Corporation said is anything to go by then the market shed, which has been under development or construction for the past many years is now ready. In the first place, one does not know why it took the Government so long to get this place ready. In the second place, it should be obvious to everyone that the Government will need to do more than this. Relocating the street vendors to the market spot in front of Shankar Talkies at Lamphel is an idea which has been mooted many times in this column and now is the time to implement this plan effectively. Market places should have that magnetic appeal. In other words it should have the ability to draw people and the market shed, which is reportedly being readied or is ready to house more than 1300 vendors, should be able to draw people in no time. Just develop the place. Make the vegetable vendors come there. But in the process the Government would need to look beyond the market place and study how well developed are the roads leading to this spot. If say in five years time the Lamphel market becomes a big draw, which route should the vehicles heading for this market place take ? RIMS road or Lalambung road is already choc-a-bloc with traffic now. Same is the case with other roads that one can take to reach this spot. Has the Government looked at this aspect or is it just satisfied with issuing an order to send the street vendors packing from the already crowded commercial areas of Imphal ? It will not be as easy as the Government thinks it is and it has to think out of the box now.
Has the Government taken care to study the profiles of the street vendors, who are pushed and shoved every time the cops on duty come along with their gruff and rough voice to pack up and clear the road ? Where do the majority of them come from ? This is where it would be helpful for the Government to look at the possibility of developing market sheds at different points so that the vegetable sellers do not feel the need to come to Paona Keithel, Thangal Keithel, BT Road and MG Avenue to sell their wares. How about the vegetable sellers by the roadside at Lamlong Keithel ? Has the Government given any thought to this or is it just satisfied with letting the status quo continue ? For starters it may not be a bad idea for the Government to look for ways on where and how to shift the ISBT located plumb in the heart of Imphal. The ISBT then may be turned into a market place for the vegetable sellers who have occupied the roadside at Lamlong. Others may also be housed there. How about developing the market shed at Kwakeithel properly ? Once done then many people living along Tiddim road may not feel the need to proceed to Thangal Keithel, Paona Keithel or BT Road, thus reducing the crowd at these places. Why doesn’t the Government look a little beyond Manipur University and see if a market place along that line can be developed ? These are all suggestions and other than developing the market site at Lamphel, the Government will also seriously need to study the possibility of shifting the ISBT from its present location. Nowhere in India will one see the ISBT located plumb in the  heart of the capital city. Time for the policy makers to take a bus ride from Imphal to Guwahati and perhaps they may see the reality.