Do not convert Marina beach into a shandy, Madras HC tells Corporation

Orders that not more than 900 push carts should be distributed to vendors on the beach

The Madras High Court on Wednesday warned the Greater Chennai Corporation against converting the Marina beach into a shandy by purchasing 1,352 push carts at a cost of ₹22.27 crore and distributing it free of cost to the vendors on the beach.

Justices Vineet Kothari and R. Suresh Kumar were taken aback to hear that the Corporation had decided to procure 1,352 carts, though it had all along been assuring the court that not more than 900 vendors would be given licence to operate in the beach.

Stating that even the figure of 900 was a bit too much for the beach, the judges ordered that the Corporation should not purchase and distribute even a single cart more than that since there was always a possibility of additional carts being used by vendors.

“Don’t keep on increasing the carts and turn the beach into a shandy. The beach is meant for the general public and not for those wanting to make commercial gains,” Justice R. Suresh Kumar said after Additional Advocate General S.R. Rajagopal presented a report in the court.

The AAG pointed out that the push carts would have in-built gas stoves and burners for the vendors who sell hot snacks such as Bajji and Bonda, and refrigerators for those who were involved in the selling of soft drinks. They would, however, be uniform in size.

The judges were also shocked to hear that the Corporation had decided to collect a monthly rent of ₹100 from every vendor to whom the push carts were to be distributed by inviting applications and selecting the beneficiaries through a draw of lots.

“Are you joking?” the senior judge in the Bench asked the Corporation officials. He further directed the Chief Secretary as well as the Commissioner to hold a discussion and fix a reasonable monthly rent to be collected from the vendors since ₹100 was “abysmally low.”

The officials were also directed to ensure that the entire tender process was completed before the end of March and the carts were procured from the successful tenderers in batches. A comprehensive report on the issue was ordered to be filed in the court on January 29.

The Member Secretary of Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority was also ordered to be present on that day in the court to explain the delay in approving a proposal sent by the Corporation for construction of a footpath on the sea side of the loop road in the Marina beach.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:53:20 PM |

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