Market vendors protest forced move

PHUKET TOWN: More than 150 market traders of the popular downtown market on Ranong Rd gathered at Provincial Hall this morning to protest their forced relocation to a site on Bangkok Rd by Thursday. If they do not move by Thursday, they each face a fine of 2,000 baht a day. Of the 300 vendors at the market, 88 unlicensed vendors who trade along Ranong Rd have been ordered to move. They argued that they would suffer huge losses in trade by moving further from the city center, and that existing customers were unfamiliar with the new site. In addition, once moved to the new site, the vendors will be required to pay a 20-baht-a-day site fee plus 50 baht for cleaning. The fees will be collected by site owner-managing company Yee Teng. At about 11 am, Phuket Chief Administrative Officer Witsawa Sathitsamith met protest leader Wanchai Wuttisom and Viroj Suwannawong, of Phuket Town Municipality, to discuss the problem. K. Viroj said that the municipality had received many complaints from local residents that the market was noisy and vendors who lined the street caused traffic jams. He also explained that the relocation was the first step of the municipality’s plan to build a three-story building to house a new market on the Ranong Rd site. “The remaining vendors will be asked to move temporarily at a later date,” he said. Local merchant Manut Anusatra said, “The downtown market has always traded from midnight to 5 am. We have been working there for more than 20 years, but we have never heard any complaints from residents about our business.” K. Manut added, “The municipality plans to limit our trading hours from 9 pm to 4 am, which is an unusual period for people to buy fresh produce.” The day’s talks ended in a stalemate. The parties have yet to come to an agreement.

Phuket News
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