The Chennai Corporation is proposing to frame a scheme for hawkers on Marina Beach that will not affect their livelihood and will also provide certain facilities to beach-users.

This will be done in a regulated manner so it does not have an adverse impact on the environment as well as on local hygiene and sanitation.

This was the civic body’s response before the First Bench of the Madras High Court comprising acting Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar, to a writ petition by K. Balaji, president, Gandhiji Consumer Forum.

The petitioner said that Marina Beach was in a pathetic and shabby condition. Foreign tourists were afraid of coming to the beach. Through their negligence, the authorities had allowed hundreds of small shops and vendors to operate all over the beach. Because of their failure to implement the Food Safety and Standards Act, substandard and unhygienic food was being sold there.

During the last hearing, the Bench had granted an interim injunction, restraining the authorities from allowing anybody to operate businesses and run shops, eateries, etc on the entire stretch of the Marina so as to maintain its pristine beauty.

When the matter came up again, the petitioner submitted that in spite of the interim order, no action had been taken by the Corporation to evict the temporary shops.

In its counter, the Corporation Commissioner said the civic body had not allowed anybody to run businesses on the beach. It did not collect any rent or fees from any of them. The hawkers were doing business there without permission. The Corporation proposed to regulate the hawkers by prohibiting the installation of any permanent structures. It had started an enumeration of the hawkers and required at least three months to implement the scheme.

Following this, the court adjourned the matter to June 4 to enable the Corporation to show progress in the implementation of its proposed scheme.

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