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February 27, 2012

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Legalize stalls in defined zones, urge lawmakers

LOCAL legislators are suggesting the government legalize sales stalls and arrange special areas and times that would allow their operation, after a survey found that most stall owners want governmental management instead of playing hide-and-seek with officials.

The survey has been sent to the Shanghai People's Congress for consideration, while officials from the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said a city regulation is a must to carry out such trials.

Liu Weiguang of the public sanitation bureau said officials are lenient on stalls on small roads at evening and night, when they don't bother the traffic and meet residents' needs.

"Districts of Yangpu and Minhang have tried to allocate some places for small stalls," he said. "However, the trials failed after so many stalls gathered there and residents complained."

The survey led by He Qinhua, a legislator, interviewed 112 stall operators in seven districts and more than 400 local residents. Stall runners said they prefer Metro and bus stations to run their tiny businesses, followed by residential complexes and places near schools and wet markets. They said their biggest pressure is from city management officials, who always drive them away and charge fines.

Almost every stall operator was fined by city officials three to five times on average. One was fined more than 20 times, the survey found.

They often run away if encountering officials and go back after officials leave. More than 80 percent of the stall operators said they were tired of playing hide-and-seek with officials and want to be included into official management.

According to He, it is impossible to drive away all the unlicensed stalls, which largely meet residents' requirements. Instead of simply banishing them, He's team suggested the government set special areas and times for them to operate.

The team offered four plans: small markets consisting of stalls near Metro stations; night markets at small roads close to residential areas; weekend flea markets at parks; and wet markets selling vegetables and fruits near residential complexes.

City management officials should register the stalls, which would pay a management fee, the team said.


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