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Complex to house hawkers under way

R. SRIKANTH
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A spot for them: Pavement shops proposed to be constructed by Chennai Corporation to relocate hawkers. Photo: V. Ganesan.
A spot for them: Pavement shops proposed to be constructed by Chennai Corporation to relocate hawkers. Photo: V. Ganesan.

Very soon pedestrians and motorists using the Monegar Choultry Road (M.C. Road) and Gullavar Agraharam Road in Royapuram, would be relieved from the daily hassles of traffic bottlenecks caused due to road-side hawkers occupying the roads.

One of the most important link roads for the residents of north Chennai, M.C. Road also houses several wholesale and retail merchants selling various dress materials making it a shopping paradise for shoppers.

D. Nagaraju, a resident of Tiruvottiyur High Road, said that M.C. Road is famous for wholesalers engaged in selling dress materials, particularly sarees. But over a period of time hawkers started putting shops outside the shops, which later became a big headache for motorists and pedestrians. Today hawkers occupy each and every space meant for pedestrians and motorists of the narrow road. With the footpath and the road margin occupied by hawkers, motorists and pedestrians have to vie for space on the road.

The Chennai Corporation based on the advice of Justice Ramamurthy Committee, which was appointed by the Madras High Court to oversee the removal of hawkers from roads, has constructed a unique shopping complex for hawkers at the M.C. Road-Cemetery Road junction. A senior corporation official said that the shops had been designed like bank vaults with hawkers allowed to sell their items sitting on the top portion of the shops. Once they close their shop, they could safely store their materials inside their shops. A total of 133 individual shops having a width of 20 sq. ft. each have been constructed at a cost of Rs. 27 lakh. The shopping complex would have toilet facility. The official said that 125 hawkers have been identified by the committee and these beneficiaries would be allotted shops at the commercial complex after the complex is inaugurated.

Once the hawkers are shifted to this place, M.C. Road would be freed from the vendor menace allowing free flow of traffic.

M. Mohammed Basheer, member of The Madras Washermenpet Cut Piece Cloth Merchants Association, an association formed by the wholesalers at M.C. Road, said that there are more than 400 hawkers on M.C. Road and Gullavar Agraharam Road. Mr. Basheer said that once the corporation identified hawkers are shifted to the commercial complex, the association would actively coordinate with the civic body and the police personnel to maintain the road free of hawkers and would disallow any hawkers to mushroom in front of the shops.

Median to be constructed

Moreover, the corporation has proposed to widen the road by reducing the width of footpath on both sides of the road to discourage hawkers from putting up shops. The official said that with the subway being constructed by the Chennai Corporation and Southern Railway to replace the level crossing at M.C. Road, the road is bound to see heavy traffic. So a median has also been proposed to be constructed.

R. SRIKANTH

This will get rid of the traffic hassles in Royapuram.

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