The Chennai Corporation will initiate stern action against pavement vendors who continue to do business on the roadsides even after being allotted shops at one of the three complexes for them in the city.

Besides removing the pavement shops, their allotment order would also be cancelled. This was announced by Mayor M. Subramanian at a function on Monday, at which Deputy Chief Minister M. K. Stalin inaugurated three shopping complexes for hawkers and shopkeepers built by the Corporation.

Mr. Stalin said the complexes — in Pondy Bazaar, Ayanavaram and Royapuram — have been built at a total cost of Rs.5.76 crore and they have space for a total of 1,109 shops.

The complex in Pondy Bazaar has been built on 43,032 sq.ft. space and has three lifts. It would locate 644 hawkers and shopkeepers, including those on Thyagaraya Road, Sivaprakasam Road and Usman Road and those in the previous complex on the same site.

The complexes in Ayanavaram and Royapuram would have 332 shops and 133 shops respectively.

Pointing out that only 15 per cent of the footpath space in the city was available for pedestrians, Mr.Stalin said traffic congestion would be reduced if the complexes are properly used. The complex in T.Nagar has come up on a land whose worth is nearly Rs.100 crore.

Highlighting the Kalaignar Housing Scheme, he said of the 21 lakh free concrete houses planned to be built in six years, work on three lakh houses would be completed by January end.

Mr.Stalin also commended the Corporation's initiative to retrieve open space reservation lands and execute developmental works without increasing tax. He later distributed identity cards to some of the allottees.

Mayor M. Subramanian said that around 30 traders were given allotment orders on Monday. The remaining would be given orders on four days as per the list given by the Madras High Court-appointed Hawking Committee. The allottees or their family members must not set up shop again on roadside, he said.

R.Shanmugam, one of the allottees, said he was paying Rs.100 every month to the Corporation for his shop on Lakshmikanthan Street, where he was shifted from the old complex. He wanted the authorities to fix the rent for 25 sq ft space allotted to him at the T.Nagar complex at the earliest. Along with a few other hawkers, he voiced concern at the limited space available to them at the complex.

North Chennai Member of Parliament T. K. S. Elangovan, ruling party leader N.Ramalingam, opposition leader Saidai P.Ravi, Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni and Exnora International founder chairman M. B. Nirmal also spoke.

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