Famous Kwitang traditional book market in Senen

4 Feb

The Jakarta Post
Thursday, January 31, 2008

New location sought for book vendors

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The administration of Central Jakarta municipality is seeking a
new market site to relocate vendors of the famous Kwitang
traditional book market in Senen district, Central Jakarta.

“We are still reviewing land status of some possible options,”
the municipality’ s mayor told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Muhayat promised the new location would not be too far away from
the old market, saying the administration realized the
traditional market was quite popular.

The traditional book market, established in the 1960s, is
well-known as the best place to find used, old and pirated books
for cheaper prices. Vendors run their businesses on the
sidewalks and parts of the road without paying any rental fees
to the city administration.

The administration is planning to relocate more than 300 vendors
of the traditional market this year to reduce severe congestion
in the area.

Head of Senen district, Hidayatullah, said he had proposed five
locations for the relocation plan: two spots on Jl. Prapatan and
three others on Jl. Kramat Lontar, Jl. Kramat Raya and Jl. Senen
Raya.

He said the 3,000-square- meter site on Jl. Kramat Lontar would
be the most suitable.

“Still, the final decision will depend on the mayor,” he said.

Vendors and customers had mixed reactions on the eviction plan.

A vendor, Wijang, said he would not resist eviction but demanded
the administration prepare the relocation plan carefully.

“I hope the city administration will provide us with a new place
so we can continue our businesses,” he said.

Another vendor Gunawan hoped that the city administration would
find a new location not too far from the old market.

“I hope the new location will be strategic, or else I’m afraid
we’ll lose our customers,” said the 37-year-old man who first
heard about the relocation plan from his customers.

Rahman, a vendor who started his book business 20 years ago,
expressed disbelief in hearing about the eviction.

“This place is already well-known. I think the government can’t
be serious about evicting us,” said the 58-year-old man.

A customer, Mulyati, from Bekasi, West Java, said she often
brought her children to Kwitang book market to buy used school
textbooks.

“It will be hard for us to find cheap books if the vendors are
really evicted,” said the 45-year-old woman Sunday.

Mulyati, who came with her two children, was looking for a book
about former president Soeharto.

“I couldn’t find the book in the bookstore, so I came here to
get the used one,” she added.

Another customer, Hardi, 37, said she did not agree with the
administration’ s plan to evict the vendors.

“This market is like a book warehouse offering knowledge to
everyone,” she said. (dia)

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