As many as 27,195 street vendors in the city will be evicted from roads, where they have their shops spread out, to new vending zones in a few days.
Most of the 15 town-vending committees, headed by Chennai Corporation executive engineers, have sent the list of vending zones in their respective regions to Ripon Buildings, say sources.
“Many residential areas in the city are set to be declared vending zones this month,” said a civic official. The 15-member vending committees comprise six street vendors, one resident, a representative from an NGO and civic officials. Residents in many localities charge that the demarcation of vending zones was done without their knowledge.
‘Did not have a voice’
Questioning the identification of vending zones based on a simple majority in the town-vending committees, residents’ welfare associations claimed that they did not have a voice in the demarcation of vending zones, which would only lead to more civic issues.
T. Nagar Residents’ Association representative V.S. Jayaraman said Corporation officials had not informed any of the residents’ associations about the decision on demarcation of vending zones.
“Residents in our ward 136 in T. Nagar are people who are affected by street vending and encroachments on footpaths and roads. Our association is registered with the Corporation, but we do not know who represents the residents in our zone. Corporation officials might have appointed somebody who would listen to them,” he said. He demanded that the Corporation appoint more residents in its vending committees and that each ward have one resident representative in the committees.
Residents in the areas identified as new vending zones said they were not informed about the proposal to declare their roads a “vending zone”. “They should conduct public consultation before deciding on vending zones,” said a resident.
M. Sundari, a street vendor of vegetables on the Model School Road in Nungambakkam, said officials had given her an identity card. She is awaiting allotment of new space for street vending.
P. Suresh, an employee of a roadside bunk shop in Nungambakkam, said residents in roads such as the Khader Nawaz Khan Road were already preventing street vending in their area.
A resident of T. Nagar, who was affected by the temporary shifting of vendors from the Kodambakkkam bridge to the nearby lane a few years ago, said officials permitted vending in front of houses.
“We had to struggle for many days before the vendors were removed a few years ago. We do not want a similar situation now,” said J. Barath, a resident of the Mambalam High Road.
Another challenge to regulation of street vending is the lack of clarity among Corporation officials about “bunk shops” and “street vendors”, leading to encroachments on wide footpaths.
“The decision on regulation of bunk shops may be taken only after the High Court gives directions,” said an official. Several public health issues have been reported because of bunk shops and street vendors in food business, who are not properly regulated by the civic agency.
Corporation officials said residents could send in complaints pertaining to vending zones to executive engineers in the 15 zones. “Residents can call 1913 and complain about civic issues caused by the vending zones in their residential areas,” said an official.
Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/corporation-to-shift-over-27000-street-vendors-to-new-zones/article29426334.ece