As the Deepavali festival looms closer, the petty traders around the newly minted Little India could only muster to hope that they will see a return of investment for setting up bazaars around Brickfields.
Even though the festive period normally provides cheer for the traders, they seem desolate and uncertain as the booth rental charges have now gone up the roof.
Some of the traders are now forced to fork out RM 2,400.00 per canopy, in times when the implementation of the one-way traffic has slowly driven away the regular hustle and bustle normally associated with Brickfields.
Furthermore, due to the ongoing construction works, most of them could not start trading on the date stipulated in their trading license. Most of them are supposed to start trading from October 5 to November 4 or November 5.
Many have only started trading later than October 10, some even as late as October 16.
If these shortcomings are not enough, the traders have been asked to close their baazars during the three-day visit of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Little India – for which they are not being compensated.
“It is a question mark actually,” said trader Kalaiarasi Visvalingam, 25, when asked whether she believes she will see profit through her bazaar.
“Last year I managed to see profit because I only paid RM 500 for rental, but this year it has increased to RM800,” she added.
Another prevalent issue is that many of them are not given the receipt for their rental payment, and they could not confirm the profile of the person they hand over the payment to.
It is largely believed that the individuals collecting payment are not from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), who issued the licenses, but instead are individuals who belong to other organizations and associations.
“I understand that the city hall only charges RM250 per canopy, but the prices here are exorbitant and we are receiving a lot of complaints,” said chairperson of the Little India Action Committee S. Pathaa.
Pathaa urged the city hall to implement the same methods practiced in Klang, where the city council directly handed over the licenses to the stall operators and not through a third party.
The rental charges does not include electricity charges, which cost the traders an extra RM100 to RM150.
The Little India development project has been met with plenty of disgruntled voices of late, and KomunitiKini has already covered issues pertaining to the blind community, including the parking woes around the area.
Last week, Pantai Lembah Member of Parliament Nurul Izzah Ibrahim had visited the areas around the development project in order to highlight the problems plaguing the traders and others involved.
For the full story on Nurul Izzah’s visit, click here
For a full story on Brickfields’ traffic woes, click here
Watch the video: Brickfields’ Deepavali Baazar Traders: