With hawkers moving to new shopping complex, the road has become its wide self

At last, Thyagaraya Road in T. Nagar looks like a six-lane stretch.

After the relocation of roadside vendors, the road that stretches from Panagal Park to Anna Salai-Teynampet junction looks broad and wide. Traffic markings indicate that it indeed is a six-lane road but for years, it remained clogged as vendors had occupied a part of the road, mainly the Pondy Bazaar stretch.

Now, the vendors are slowly moving into the shopping complex built by the Chennai Corporation. On Sunday, all shops on the first floor were open. On the other floors, only a few shops were open. Despite the relocation however, there is the possibility that some of the hawkers could go back to the road.

Already, half-a-dozen shops sell their wares from outside the complex despite being allotted space inside. Hawkers in the complex allege that some shops have been sub-let. However, Mohammed Hakim, secretary of Rajiv Gandhi Footpath Shops Association that represents footpath shops on Usman Road, said all shops allotted to them have been taken.

“I have a shop on the second floor and sell belts and footwear. Some of them don’t have the money to establish their shops and are taking time setting them up,” he explained. According to Mr. Hakim, all persons who have been allotted space will move in within two months and the rest of the hawkers must approach the government and seek relocation.

Shopkeepers say they are yet to form an association but on each floor, the occupants have appointed a person to sweep and mop the floors every day. “We collect a small amount every month towards maintenance of our space,” said S. Syed Ibrahim, who sells curtains.

The T. Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association members, however, are still sceptical. “We are fed up with the government and police inaction. We are worried that the expansion plan for the Usman Road flyover will result in more hawkers,” said K. Swaminathan, a resident of Usman Road.

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