Space will be made for hawkers to sell their wares at the five new facilities

Imagine being able to wrap up the day’s shopping as you cross the road to the bus stop while returning from work. It will definitely take the pressure off shopping and make life far easier for the office-goer.

This will soon become a reality with the Highways Department planning to create space for hawkers in five new pedestrian subways that are to come up in the city.

This is the first time that hawkers are being officially being allotted space to set up shop in the pedestrian subways. According to the sources in the department, this step would also help improve the usage and safety aspects in these facilities.

The department, which has cleared the proposals, will soon send the designs to the Chennai Metrorail for technical clearance as the subways pass close to their alignment. The State government has already issued administrative sanction to these facilities and allocated Rs. 20 crore.

The subways are to come up at Little Mount near AGS Church, at MKN Road junction at Guindy, at Koyambedu and near Kasi Theatre and Malladi Drugs on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai. The proposed subways would be wider than the existing ones, which are 4-5 metres. They would be 7 metres wide. The hawkers will be accommodated in 1.5 metres while shoppers can buy goods without affecting pedestrian movement in another 1.5 metres.

K.S. Vishal, a resident of Anna Nagar West Extn., who frequently commutes to Koyambedu, said it would be a wonderful idea to shop inside subways. “The hawkers would not pose a threat to traffic and they will be more organised if they are given the space on rent,” he said.

B.Karunanidhi, General Secretary of Chennai Maanagar Siru Vyabarigal Sangangalin Kootamaippu welcomed the move and suggested that the Chennai Corporation could emulate this idea. “They would earn revenue instead of local goons collecting money. The Hawkers Committee appointed by the Madras High Court was able to accommodate nearly 5,000 persons. The Corporation could perhaps have a tie-up with the Railways and Chennai Metrorail to allot space in Metro and MRTS stations for hawkers,” he said. 

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