Notices to Marina vendors to take over smart carts

Following orders from the Madras High Court, the civic body has decided to allow only 900 shops in the beach by allocating 540 shops to the already existing vendors and 360 to outside vendors.
Smart carts kept in a burial ground
Smart carts kept in a burial ground

CHENNAI: Several months after the Greater Chennai Corporation allocated smart vending carts to the vendors, who will be allowed to do business in Marina Beach, the civic body has started to issue notices to the concerned vendors to take over the carts immediately.

According to a Chennai Corporation senior official, notices are being sent to 540 vendors, who are already running shops on the beach. "If vendors fail to take over the smart vending carts, the carts will be re-allocated to other vendors, who had applied during the allocation process, " the official said.

Following orders from the Madras High Court, the civic body has decided to allow only 900 shops in the beach by allocating 540 shops to the already existing vendors and 360 to outside vendors. As many as 16,178 vendors across the city applied for the allocation of 900 shops.

Vendors were selected by drawing lots in January 2021 under a Court monitored process. Meanwhile, the civic body procured 900 smart vending carts at around Rs. 17 crore. However, the civic body could not hand over the smart carts and evict existing vendors as the vendors opposed the move of allowing only 540 shops and allowing outsiders.

As per an estimation by the civic body, the Marina Beach had around 3,000 shops, but only around 1,500 vendors have been given vendors' identity cards after a regularisation drive. During the allocation process, 1,351 vendors applied for 540 smart carts.

"The smart carts are too small and there is no place for the vendors inside. We will be exposed to sun and rain if we accept the smart carts," a vendor said.

Due to the stalemate between the Chennai Corporation and the vendors, the smart carts are dumped in play grounds and burial grounds for the last 20 months and are exposed to rain and sun. Earlier, the smart carts were stored in Alphonsa Ground in Mandaveli, but they were moved to Kailasapuram burial ground in Mylapore in January.

Recently, the civic body said that a proposal has been sent to the government to allow all the existing shops in the beach but the civic body is yet to clarify about the fate of the existing vendors.

On the other hand, Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi, along with deputy Mayor M Magesh Kumar inspected Marina and Elliot's beaches, on Wednesday, to regularise the shops and implement beautification initiatives.

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