GAM, Amman governor examine options to random downtown stalls

5. (Bottom) Stalls
An undated photo of a shop stall in downtown Amman. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Following a recent campaign by Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) teams, supported by the public security and the administrative governor to remove random stalls in the different areas of the capital, including downtown, Governor of Amman Yasser Al-Adwan stated on Tuesday that in cooperation with the GAM, several options are being examined to find alternative spaces in regulated areas for stall owners to sell their goods.اضافة اعلان

Adwan told Jordan News that the “targeted areas will be selected based on traffic of vehicles and pedestrians in order for the stall owners to achieve a good volume of sales.” He said that the stalls were in violation of the law and obstructed traffic, noting that many stall owners pick random spots to place their goods “thinking it is their given right to do so.”

Jordan News made a visit on Monday to downtown, which was almost devoid of shoppers and sellers. The campaign was not welcomed by many, who said “it was inhuman to deprive the stall owners of their livelihood, especially in light of the economic challenges since the start of the pandemic. Several citizens spoke of the difficult situation stall owners face, and called on concerned authorities to review the decision or find other alternatives.

Alaa Abu Hammad, a frequent visitor to downtown, told Jordan News that the authorities should be more lenient during the current economic conditions and keep the stalls, adding that “those people cannot afford to pay rent for shops. Even some of the big retailers have been closing down their businesses due to a slow shopping season.”

Adel Shami, a retailer, told Jordan News that the pretext of the authorities to remove the stalls was overcrowding on the streets, and hindering people’s movement, “but I can tell you that downtown is always full of people, and I don’t believe that removing the stalls is the best solution to eliminate overcrowding.”

Ramadan, a stall owner, who was not affected by the stall-removal campaign, thanked his lucky stars. “Luckily, I had a chance to place my stall in a good location which does not impede the traffic, so it will not be removed, however, I feel sorry for other sellers who face such a bad situation.” He said he doubted that alternative spaces would be found for other stall owners in the crowded downtown area, expressing pity that they have lost a chance to earn income.

However, some agreed with conducting additional campaigns to eliminate stalls permanently.

Mariam Shahwan, a frequent downtown shopper, told Jordan News that the stall owners “are a nuisance as they beg passersby to buy their goods; they don’t wear facemasks or keep physical distance from others.” However, Shahwan said that she feels pity for those stall owners, urging authorities to find them licensed alternatives, noting that some of those stalls “are popular and citizens oftentimes look for them to catch a good bargain.”

GAM official spokesman Nasser Al-Rahamneh said that the main objective of the campaign was to raise awareness among stall owners, who place their goods randomly on sidewalks and on streets, of the inconvenience they cause to traffic and to pedestrians.

Rahamneh said the GAM had previously offered them many solutions but they consistently refused to respond. He said the intention is not to cause them harm but steer them to follow the rules. “It is our job to regulate the market and to ensure that everyone is safe and that the presence of these stalls does not cause overcrowding or impede traffic.”

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