Traders are confident of attracting customers to the complex, says T.S. Atul Swaminathan

Pondy Bazaar seems to have acquired a new character. Its pavements have been wearing a subdued look ever since hawkers moved into the complex nearby.

Inside the building, traders are busy setting up their stalls and arranging the wares. Those who were the first to move in have already starting doing brisk business.

With woodworks, welding, painting and electrical works going on in full swing, the complex should be fully ready for use in two weeks.

Traders are confident that sales will pick up in a month’s time.

“It will not be too difficult for us to sell our wares from inside the complex. Since moving here, we have had a steady stream of regular customers.”

The shops, which are made out of wood, have a storage space of 5 x 5 sq.ft and have a common walking space of four-and-a-half sq.ft.

One of the shoppers said once the building was fully operational, a festive and carnival atmosphere would prevail inside. “It is sure to become a shopper’s paradise where one can get everything from bangles and belts to t-shirts and trolleys.”

However, they feel the common walking space inside the complex is too narrow and people have difficulty moving from one shop to another.”

The remaining traders and hawkers are expected to shift into the complex soon.

While some residents like S. Mary Alexander feel that the complex has brought relief to pedestrians, others think the place has lost its old charm.

“I was born and brought up in T. Nagar. Pondy Bazaar has always been famous for street-shopping. I used to shop regularly with my friends at the Bazaar. Though, I can now shop under one roof, I will miss meandering through the Bazaar,” R. Jai said.

Alternative resettlement

Meanwhile, hawkers on Usman Road have obtained a stay order from the Madras High Court against the directive to move into he complex.

They had filed a case in 2011 seeking an alternative resettlement, which is pending before the court.

The Supreme Court’s order in September restrains all States and Union Territories from taking action against hawkers.

“The Madras High Court will soon hear the second plan of J. Kanakaraj committee to create hawking zones in the city. Traders on Usman Road will probably be covered under the second plan of the committee,” the traders pointed out.

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