Southern Railway and Railway Protection Force have evicted hawkers squatting on approach roads leading to Tambaram railway station. Official sources said the drive against the encroachment by hawkers was launched following complaints by several commuters.
A number of pavement hawkers, ranging from vendors of fruits and flowers, snacks, plastic goods and other goods had taken over the approach roads leading to the railway station on both the east and west sides.
This had considerably shrunk the width on the approach roads used by commuters on their way to board suburban and long distance trains as well as others using the foot overbridge to reach either side of the railway station. A senior staff of Southern Railway administration told The Hindu that the drive was launched to keep the hawkers at bay permanently.
The staff said there were no provisions permitting the operation of temporary shops within railway property and hence, the drive.
Hawkers operating from makeshift and mobile shops were evicted, the staff said, adding that this was well received by commuters.
Only those auto and call taxi drivers and owners who had obtained licences from the Southern Railway administration were allowed to park and operate their vehicles, the staff said.
They added that earlier allegations of law enforcers harassing the hawkers for monetary gains too could be avoided. “We welcome the decision to remove pavement hawkers, but request the administration to widen the access point to the railway station from Velachery Main Road,” said K. Hariharan, an autorickshaw driver.
Aanai Panneerselvam, an activist of Makkal Mandram, said pavement hawkers always bore the brunt whenever there was a drive to beautify public places.
He called for creation of adequate spaces within properties belonging to State and Central governments where the hawkers could set up shop for the benefit of commuters.