Street vendors prepare back up plan in Jakarta

As the Jakarta administration is urging all street vendors in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, to move into Block G of Tanah Abang market, at least 150 vendors have registered themselves to city-owned market developer PD Pasar Jaya, according to an executive.

Finance director of PD Pasar Jaya Warno said on Tuesday that his firm had provided 1,060 stalls in the second and third floors of Block G to accommodate around 785 street vendors in Tanah Abang.??"Some of the street vendors have registered to occupy stalls at the block since July 16," he said. "However, we are prioritising vendors with Jakarta ID cards."

Nita, 45, a street vendor who sells children`s clothing, said that she registered herself as a tenant at Block G just as a back-up measure in case the city government evicted all the street vendors. ??"However, I am still selling my goods on the streets because I have already paid an annual [January-December] fee of Rp 8 million [US$794.60] for my stall to preman [thugs] who control the area," said Nita, who has worked as a vendor since the 1980s.??She said that by selling clothing on the street she could earn more than Rp 3 million per day and she was afraid of losing buyers if she moved into Block G.

Meanwhile, Fatimah, a street vendor selling underwear, said that she would never move into Block G because she believed that only a few buyers would shop there.??"I have been here since 1976 and I have seen street vendors move into the market three times so far," she said. "However, the vendors always return to the streets because a lot of buyers are reluctant to shop inside the market."

She added that many shoppers were reluctant to enter Block G, because they knew it was full of prostitutes and thugs gambling cards or playing mah-jongg.??"Besides that, the block is filthy and lacks parking spaces," she said.

The city administration is trying to influence street vendors to move into Block G by promising that it will build a bridge connecting Block G and Block F, which is more popular among visitors, and the nearby slaughterhouse will be relocated from Block G.

Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama said recently that the city was negotiating to buy an empty building that sits beside Block G in order to build the bridge.??"If the street vendors do not want to be relocated now, they will regret it as soon as the bridge is built," he said, promoting the expansion plan.

The city government is trying to relocate all the street vendors in Tanah Abang because they exacerbate daily traffic jams in the area.??Tanah Abang market is always full of people because it is the center of textile and clothing trade in Jakarta, according to Jakartatourism.go.id. The market was built in 1735 by a wealthy Dutch landlord, Justinus Vinck, who bought the area in 1733.

Tanah Abang was destroyed in 1740 during the Chinese rebellion, which was suppressed violently by the Dutch authorities here, causing a large Chinese exodus out of Batavia (Jakarta`s colonial name). The Chinese traders returned only after the Dutch persuaded them to continue their activities.

The market was then reconstructed in 1881 and modernized by the Dutch colonial administration in 1926. Meanwhile, the Indonesian government renovated and expanded the market in 1976 to comprise four big buildings with a total floor area of 11,154 square meters, accommodating 4,351 shops and 3,016 traders. (ian)

Sourced by The JaKarta Post – www.jakartapost.com