MORE than 460 illegal street traders have been caught operating in Manama in the first three months of the year, it has emerged.
They were part of 930 municipal offences recorded, including building violations and breaking road safety laws, said Manama Municipality technical services department head engineer Nofal Al Kooheji.
The number of runaway expatriate labourers caught during inspection campaigns in co-operation with Manama Police Directorate and Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) reached 204.
"These campaigns are held randomly to capture as many violators as possible," said Mr Al Kooheji.
"It follows directives from municipality director-general Yousif Al Gattam."
Violators were picked up as a result of inspection visits to the areas conducted regularly by municipality inspectors or complaints by residents.
Mr Al Kooheji said the percentage of street trade violations had fallen in the Manama Central Market and other areas due to efforts of inspectors.
"Most traders are not licensed to sell on the streets and what makes matters worse is that when they find out inspectors are coming their way, they store products in dirty places," he said.
"Such places are near garbage cans and in abandoned houses, which are unhealthy."
Street vendors have spread rapidly, increasing the risk of illness due to the improper storing of fruit, vegetables and other food supplies, said Mr Al Kooheji.
"This phenomenon is causing obstruction to traffic flow in front of traffic lights as well as it being uncivilised," he added.
Article 14 of the law on using public roads authorises the municipality to remove road encroachments at the expense of violators if they are unlicensed and found to be disrupting public security, contravening public decency and health, impeding traffic flow or affecting the harmony of the area.