Corporation yet to decide fate of smart kiosks

The corporation procured 900 of these smart carts at a cost of Rs 16.5 crore. However, vendors refused to use them since they were too small for an average adult to work out of them.

Published: 04th September 2023 08:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2023 08:33 AM   |  A+A-

Smart carts intended to be given to vendors at Marina beach and other parts of the city remain neglected, kept at the cemetry in Mylapore | Ashwin Prasath

By Express News Service

CHENNAI:  The future of 300 smart kiosks intended for beach vendors, which have been dumped at RK Salai crematorium and left to rot for more than 18 months, remains uncertain as corporation officials still lack clarity on what to do with them.

“The kiosks could not be provided to Marina vendors. Some of them have been given to other districts and some of the kiosks need minor repairs. It will be carried out in due course of time,” a senior official with the corporation told TNIE.

However, another official said, “There are no pending cases now and kiosks in usable condition can be allotted to vendors after the formation of the town vending committee.” Either way, the civic body does not have an immediate plan in place to shift them.

The corporation had procured these smart carts following Madras High Court directions. Designed as part of a plan to beautify Marina Beach, the kiosks lay in shambles when TNIE visited the spot. The issue also resonated in the corporation council meeting on August 31 as many councillors and chairmen urged the corporation to put them to use. 

The corporation procured 900 of these smart carts at a cost of Rs 16.5 crore. However, vendors refused to use them since they were too small for an average adult to work out of them, apart from accommodating essential equipment.

At the RK Salai crematorium, TNIE counted at least 50 of these kiosks covered by overgrowth. Besides, many of these had parts including shelves, shelf doors and taps missing, while many have developed rust, and broken windows and some were found fully damaged and unusable. Some of the kiosks were also found dumped with garbage.

“Most people who come here don’t know what they are and nobody pays any attention to them. The more it is allowed to lie here, the more unusable they will become,” said Prasad K, a visitor to the cemetery.
Even as the city corporation strengthens its drive to clear abandoned vehicles off the streets elsewhere in the city, these 300 kiosks are left to die at the crematorium as only a handful of them have been put to use at the Marina beach.

“There was resistance from the vendors because they were not involved in the design process. These carts could not be moved easily on the sand and were also very small which led to protests from the vendors,” said C Thiruvettai, president of, Small Vendors Committee.

Beach vendors also said that there were issues with the number of kiosks that were procured. Allocation of kiosks faced a roadblock following a few court cases and apprehensions from vendors. “They had procured 900 kiosks for which around 540 were for existing vendors and others were for outsiders. The number of vendors who were doing business here is much higher,” said K Sekaran, a beach vendor.

Nasiya KJ & MOHAN

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