The bright yellow carts near the two entrances to the Zoo and Museum premises are an indication that the city Corporation’s Suvidha rehabilitation scheme for street vendors has managed to see the light of day.
It took over two years for the scheme to be implemented, but the pilot project has highlighted the problems with the present cart model. The Corporation is now planning on designing another cart that will address these discrepancies.
A meeting was held with the eight beneficiaries who received the carts as part of the pilot stage, which focussed only on the Museum area as there was a large number of vendors here and it was easier for the civic body to evaluate their efficiency. The carts rolled out in January. At that time, officials said they would let the test-run last for three months, but the Lok Sabha elections put the project off-track for a couple of months.
It was a few weeks ago that a meeting was convened by Corporation welfare standing committee chairperson Palayam Rajan involving the vendors. “The complaint that came up the most was that the carts are too small,” Mr. Rajan said. He pointed out that all the carts had one standard design. “And we have such a range of services. One person may be running a food stall, while another could be selling toys,” Mr. Rajan said.
Pushparaj, a vendor here, said there was barely enough space for him to sit, and that he had to find other material, such as wooden planks and waterproof sheets, to make the pushcart more useful. “We need space to store things as well, but we have just enough space to display the items,” he said.
Corporation engineers have drafted a few designs, and may be approaching Small Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO) Ltd. to work out the kinks and come out with one sample that could be reproduced if it met most of the requirements.
The project is being implemented using funds allocated by the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP).
Once the improved model is decided on, the carts will be distributed to vendors near the Shanghumughom area as well.