SL minister threatens Mannaar UC not to restrict southern hawkers

[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 December 2010, 09:26 GMT]
The Sri Lankan minister for Industry and Commerce in Rajapaksa's cabinet, Rishad Bathiyutheen has warned the Urban Council of Mannaar not to collect taxes from southern pavement hawkers who have invaded the streets of Mannaar, causing reactions from the local business community and the public. Instead, the minister who is also from Mannaar has deployed his gang to collect money from the Sinhala hawkers. The daily collection of such taxes is around two hundred thousand rupees, UC sources said.

Mr. Bathiyutheen has also warned the UC against any legal steps against the hawkers.

The UC earlier imposed restriction on the number of southern traders entering Mannaar town and controlling their activities following request by local traders that their business has been affected due to illegal trade.

Following complaints from local business community and the public, the secretary of Mannaar UC, Ms. Bernard Croose had summoned the hawkers 10 days ago, instructing them to adhere to the regulations of the UC.

She had also instructed the traders from south not to pay any commissions to anyone except the Urban Council and granted them permission to conduct their businesses in the city till 31st of December.

The hawkers revealed then there was an organised activity behind their sudden influx towards Mannaar city. A group in the south had promised them business opportunities in Mannaar.

The influx of hawkers from the south has caused fear amongst the public affected by increased theft and crimes of ransom in recent times. There have also been reports of sexual harassments of local women by the visiting traders.

Bathiyutheen has also said that he would construct sheds for these pavement hawkers and taxes would be recovered from them by his supporters.

Vanni Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Sivasakthi Aanandan on representation made by the local business community has met the Government Agent of the district, A.Nicholaspillai, and requested him to take action to stop the minister from intimidating the UC authorities and put an end to the illegal collection conducted from the hawkers by ministers men.


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