Hawkers have taken over the footpaths near Tidel Park junction. Pedestrians do not complain, but patronise this ‘market’, says LIFFY THOMAS

Near the Tidel Park junction, a vegetable market has sprouted. Karugamma sits amidst heaps of flat beans, sweet potatoes, French beans and onions on the pavement near the Tidel Park bus stop, sorting them swiftly into plastic covers. Within minutes, these covers are handed over to a row of vendors who have parked themselves on the other side of the road, near the Thiruvanmiyur MRTS station. Footpaths on both sides of the Tidel Park Junction support this business in the evenings. In addition to vegetables, a variety of other items are sold: they include salted peanuts, beaded jewellery made by members of the Narikuravara community, pani puris and fancy toys and flowers. Though these pavements shops are technically encroachments that eat up a considerable amount of the footpaths, pedestrians are not complaining.

Thousands of commuters who detrain at Thiruvanmiyur MRTS station and alight into buses heading towards Velachery, T. Nagar and Adyar find these street-side shops a convenient way to shop on the way back home.“I stopped going to Zambazzar market as it is convenient to finish my shopping here while returning from work. I usually pick one or two vegetables every day, so that I do not have to carry a huge shopping bag,” says V. Geetha, a resident of Triplicane, who travels on the MRTS.

Vendor Malliga, who lives in Thiruvanmiyur, sources different varieties of flowers from the Flower Bazaar every day. “My business is brisk on Fridays, on other days, it is moderately good,” says Malliga, who faces competition from two other flower vendors, who are a stone’s throw away from her on the pavement.

Vegetable vendors have little to complain about. Each of their packets is priced at Rs.10 or Rs.20 and some of them have their goods sold within an hour.

“We are eight of us who sell fruits and vegetables. Most of the days, by 8.30 p.m. everything gets sold out,” says Manikandan, who sells one-and-a-half kilo of tomatoes for Rs.10.