The Chennai Corporation is planning to relocate all hawkers on Marina Beach and permit only pushcarts instead.
As per the proposal, the relocation process will restrict all 1,489 hawkers to the sands near the Triumph of Labour Statue and the Gandhi Statue. The shops will form a pattern perpendicular to Kamarajar Salai.
As many as 960 pushcarts in six rows will extend to a length of 362 metres near the Triumph of Labour Statue and 540 pushcarts will be positioned on the sands near the Gandhi Statue in six rows covering a length of 200 metres.
Each of the pushcarts will be two metres long and 1.2 metres wide. Five pushcarts will be grouped and positioned in blocks stretching 10 metres in dimension. Each block will be one metre away from the other.
The total number of pushcarts on the Marina will be restricted to 1,500. Hawkers with identity cards will be allowed to do business during the prescribed time, with wares in pushcarts only.
The civic body presented a ‘Scheme for regulation of hawkers on the Marina’ to the First Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice M. Sathyanarayanan on Thursday, when a writ petition by K. Balaji, president of the Gandhiji Consumer Forum, came up for further hearing.
The petitioner said the condition of Marina Beach was pathetic. The authorities had allowed hundreds of small shops and vendors all over the beach and . Because of the authorities’ failure to enforce the Food Safety and Standards Act, substandard and unhygienic food was being sold on the beach.
The civic body admitted that hawkers were scattered over the sands and garbage was spread all over the Marina. The regulation and relocation of hawkers was necessary.
Under the scheme, five drop gates would restrict hawker movement. Security personnel would be posted to operate the drop gates. The hawkers would be asked to use dustbins. to prevent garbage accumulation on the sands. The Corporation would levy a charge for the use of the space occupied by pushcarts. on the sands. The civic body would also periodically review the arrangement and modify conditions if necessary. Appropriate action would be taken against violators.
The petitioner’s counsel sought time to file his objections and also to suggest an alternative mechanism to relocate the hawkers. Following this, the Bench posted the matter for further hearing after a week.