By Omar Bah
Dozens of vendors including owners of cafés, restaurants and small-scale fruit shops built along the Traffic Lights -Airport road have been asked to demolish their stalls or shops by tomorrow 21 December or it will be forcefully done for them at their cost.
A letter from the Department of Physical Planning advised the vendors to remove any fence or building erected along the road since they do not have a legal development permit from the appropriate building control authorities.
The letter said the buildings or structures are classified as unsafe since they have not been legally cleared under the provisions of the development control regulations 1995.
The matter naturally did not go down well with the vendors. Jainaba Jallow, a fruit seller at Traffic Lights said although she is yet to receive a letter, she is very worried that she could be next victim.
“People like me have been to school but we could not get a decent job and that is why we decided to partake in business. But if the government is saying we should demolish our shops, that is disappointing,” she said.
Another vendor, Ebrima Jallow said he was given a letter from Physical Planning to demolish his structures within six days.
“If my shop is closed, I will suffer and my family will suffer too. When I was told about the news I could not eat lunch that day because it hurts me a lot,” he said.
Abdoulie Taban, the owner of one of the restaurants served with a demolition order, said it will be very sad for him to leave his shop after 12 years. “I have been operating this restaurant for the past 12 years, and I employed about six Gambians and my entire survival is on the restaurant,” he lamented.
Many others from Traffic Lights to Bijilo expressed similar sentiments.