CAIRO: The government’s recent bids to appease street vendors after relocating them to Torgoman garage starting Aug. 24 have failed to contain the vendors’ anger, according to Street Vendors’ Syndicate head Ahmed Hussein.
So far, the government has taken some steps to alleviate complaints that emerged after street vendors were relocated to the Torgoman Garage—a location disliked by street vendors because of its lack of traffic and subsequent customers. For this reason, the Cairo governorate tried to stimulate customer movement by agreeing to establish a bus stop in the area, and Tuesday, opened a discounted school fair there.
But according to Hussein, this is little more than window dressing.
“These steps are only in the media and nothing is really on the ground,” Hussein told The Cairo Post Wednesday. “We agreed to move to the Torgoman garage according to the government’s decision despite our objections, and we decided to stay so that we do not appear as hindering the State’s interest.”
But since the move “none of the vendors have sold anything for more than 15 days. This place is not suitable for the vendors,” Hussein added.
He added that the government is discussing hosting a concert at Torgoman to draw more traffic, but he doesn’t believe this will have an impact.
Cairo Governor Galal Said inaugurated the school supplies fair with a 40 percent discount at the garage, “and brought 1,200 government employees to buy from the fair, just to create huge presence and turnout,” said Hussein, adding that the employees left once the governor left the garage. “The vendors are still not benefitting with these steps,” he said.
The main aim of the government’s relocation campaign was to ease traffic congestion in the capital’s streets, and to serve this goal, it deployed security forces en masse in the streets to prevent the return of the vendors. The government’s plan also includes a future relocation of the street vendors to another, larger and permanent place near Torgoman called Waboor el-Talg.
Waboor el-Talg is currently a garbage dump and will supposedly need time to be prepared, but the Cairo governorate has neither determined the cost of construction nor the date of the vendors’ relocation.
Measures taken by the government against vendors are not limited only to streets, as a new strategy announced Sept. 6 will be adopted by the National Authority for Tunnels to remove peddlers from Metro stations as well.