THE GOVERNMENT is planning to transform Bangkok’s China Town and Khao San Road into well-organised areas for street food vendors.
“We will allow street stalls, as long as they comply with our regulations on zoning, stall designs, green packaging and hygienic standards,” Second Lieutenant Pornchanok Amphan, a spokeswoman for the Defence Ministry, said at a press conference yesterday.
She said the decision had been made by the country’s fifth reform steering committee.
For example, she said, stalls in the China Town, or Yaowarat, area should be in the style of Chinese pavilions, while stalls on Khao San Road should be designed as Thai pavilions.
Food vendors in the two streets will also be required to receive training to ensure they conduct their businesses appropriately, she said.
Since it came to power, the National Council for Peace and Order has pursued a policy to ban street stalls, describing their presence as a violation of pedestrians’ rights. If authorities get rid of all street stalls in Bangkok, more than 10,000 businesses would be affected.
However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) denied reports that all street food in Bangkok would be wiped out.
Wanlop Suwandee, chief adviser to the Bangkok governor, said that the earlier report that the BMA would remove all street-food vendors was incorrect.
Wanlop said that the BMA did not intend to get rid of all street food and the statement was just a misunderstanding.
“We just intend to regulate the footpaths in Yaowarat and Khao San Road. We don’t at all intend to clear all street stalls,” Wanlop said. He added that the BMA would today hold a press conference to clarify the matter at Bangkok City Hall.
The Nation reported this week that Yaowarat and Khao San Road would be the next targets for the pavement management operation and that street vendors would be cleared from the area.
Street vendors have always been a debated topic in Thai society. While many believe the stalls make cheap food and products easily available, others find street stalls an inconvenience and even a threat to their safety.
“When street stalls crowded the footpaths between Pratunam area and CentralWorld in the past, I had to walk on the street and risked my life,” a Bangkok resident said.