THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The City police on Friday launched an eviction drive, in view of the Onam rush at East Fort, by clearing encroachments of wayside vendors on the footpath of Overbridge- East Fort stretch. The Fort Police cleared at least eight wayside shops that had started functioning to attract more business ahead of Onam.
Many shops are reportedly operated by temporary traders coming from northern India. The drive began at around 11.30 am by the team led by Fort SFO T Shajimon and cleared either sides of the 500 metre stretch.
Speaking to ‘City Express’, Shajimon said that they received several complaints from pedestrians stating that free movement on the footpaths were being obstructed by these traders. ‘ The pedestrians started using the road because of the congested footpaths. Owing to this, traffic has become congested at the Overbridge-East Fort stretch, which is a busy area.
This is why we decided to evacuate all traders including coconut vendors in front of Pazhavangady Ganapathy temple. However, the traders can do their business with permission taken from the city corporation without creating obstruction to the public”, he said.
Meanwhile, the women traders who were selling coconuts for performing rituals at the temple said that they have been the most affected as they have been denied their means to livelihood. “ We are selling coconuts after borrowing it from Chalai and have to give back the money to the shops on a daily basis after the business. Now, we are literally in a do-or-die situation. We have never obstructed the passage of the pedestrians on the footpath. We have no idea what to do”, said Lalitha, who comes here daily from Kovalam to sell coconuts. Nearly, seven vendors were removed and have sought a viable alternative to do their business. The temporary tourist traders are planning to shift to other suitable places in the city.
The Police also added that the drive will continue till Onam.