CHENNAI: Even amid stiff resistance from the fisherfolk, the Chennai Corporation is determined to relocate vendors from the Marina Loop Road to a newly constructed complex nearby. After recent observations by a bench of the Madras High Court on beautifying the beach, the city corporation has renewed attempts to relocate the fishermen.
The court had also asked Corporation Commissioner G Prakash and City Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Agarwal, to take morning walks alongside the beach and the Loop Road, to ensure that the place is well maintained and free of encroachment.
Speaking to reporters after one such walk on Friday, Prakash said, the complex was being constructed on a two-acre land with all the facilities scientifically designed for fishermen. “Once it is done, we will shift the 300-odd shops currently there on both sides of the road, to the complex. We will also take biometrics of vendors.” While the civic body says that fisher groups have agreed to move, members from the fishing union deny the claim. “We have been opposing this for so long.
Our request has always been for authorities to create safer ways for us to sell fish along the road itself. No one has given consent for this transfer,” said a senior union member, on condition of anonymity.
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act of 2014 states that natural markets where street vendors have conducted business for over 50 years, shall be declared as heritage markets, and street vendors in such markets shall not be relocated.
While the fishing community has not yet come to terms with the civic body, the latter hopes to beautify the beach front by early 2021. Prakash said that each shop in the complex will be spacious with adequate storage, display area for fish names, overall giving a pleasant experience for customers. “The complex also comes with parking space with a capacity to park 400 two-wheelers and 89 four-wheelers,” said Prakash.