A NUMBER of illegal vendors who were evicted from the Jidhafs Central Market on Tuesday were thrown a lifeline yesterday.
Several of them gathered outside the Capital Trustees Board building in Bilad Al Qadeem yesterday demanding they be allowed to continue their trade or else their livelihoods would be damaged.
Board chairman Mohammed Al Khozaie said only eight of the 45 illegal vendors evicted would be given special permission to continue their trade in empty plots of land adjacent to the market on the condition they get approval from the property’s owners.
The empty plots of land and all roads leading to the market were previously occupied by stalls of Bahrainis and “free visa” expatriates before the raid by municipal officials on Tuesday who dismantled the stalls and confiscated the goods.
The Capital Trustees Authority had warned the traders last month and given them a two-week notice which they ignored.
However, this was not the first time stalls have been removed with traders returning en masse.
“The chaotic manner in which the market was run left it subject to numerous violations with licensed traders occupying the road near their shops by setting up stalls and shades,” said Mr Al Khozaie.
“This allowed several others to take advantage of the situation, Bahrainis and free visa expatriates, who set up their own stalls and shades and started selling on the road or the open private properties opposite the market.
“There have been numerous raids in the past with the place being cleared and many being referred to the Public Prosecution, but always traders continued coming back.
“Tuesday’s raid was the biggest as it involved all concerned authorities and a major clean-up of all violations.”
Mr Al Khozaie said residents have been complaining about the situation for a very long time as they found it difficult to reach their homes, unable to rest due to the noise and faced harassment by some free visa expatriate vendors.
“We have taken action several times before but this time we were very strict as the situation had become intolerable,” he said.
“The roads are blocked, access is denied with traders putting their own signs and setting up their stalls, and there are loud noises and even complaints of harassment to neighbours, and this is something we can’t stay silent over.”
“The eight Bahrainis came to our doorsteps asking for help since it would affect their livelihood and we agreed to allow them to return through special permission on the condition they get approval from the private landowners,” said Mr Al Khozaie.
“The eight have no shops and sell local produce or catch and have nowhere else to go.
“But the rest of the 45 removed either have shops elsewhere and can sell from there or are illegal residents of the country and will be deported by the concerned authorities.”