Problems Aplenty for Royapuram Vendors
By Arun Venkat | Published: 04th February 2014 07:11 AM |
Two years ago, over 130 street vendors, who had set up shop along the busy M C Road in Royapuram, thought that there was a better life ahead for them. Chennai Corporation officials had just asked them to move into a new vendors’ complex constructed for them nearby. However today, the complex itself seems to have become the biggest obstruction to their businesses, affecting their livelihood.
“There is no electricity, roofing or adequate space and the complex is no better than the street side spots we set up shops in. The secluded complex is almost invisible from the street, robbing us of our customers,” says S Jayachandran, a street vendor who has been allotted a shop here.
Many have already vacated the stalls allotted to them, while those still holding on are running deep into debt. Ironically, the vendors say that the road from which they were forced to vacate currently has over 200 stalls that have that have been set up illegally by new vendors.
“The board in front of the complex, the only proof that there is such a complex here, too is obstructed by a tree that the authorities do not allow us to cut. We aren’t asking them for favours, we’re just asking them to leave us to fend for ourselves. We are capable of putting up the facilities by ourselves but the authorities deny us permission,” laments D Venkatesan, one of the stall owners.
One of the major things promised to the vendors was a clean environment, but the next door hosts a government playground that is being used as an open urinal. “How can we expect our customers to come in here bearing that smell while it is hard for even us to sit here?,” says Venkatesan
In spite of several petitions, no action has been taken so far. However, the vendors have pinned their hopes on a recently conducted grievance meeting. “We’ve given a petition to the Mayor and have been promised a solution. This really is our last hope,” says Jayachandran.