The civic body has issued over 5,400 applications for the allotment of shops on the beach
The Ripon Buildings, the headquarters of the Greater Chennai Corporation, has been witnessing long queues for two days with the civic body issuing over 5,400 applications for the allotment of shops on Marina Beach.
Applications are being issued under two categories — category A for vendors who already have shops on the beach and B for others.
The issuance of applications started on December 14. There has been a sudden rise in the distribution in the last two days and the number of applicants are now running into a few thousands.
Shops selling eatables, soft drinks, snacks and trinkets will be permitted. Those dealing in cloth, tattoos, books, electric and electronic goods will not be allowed, said sources.
Corporation Deputy Commissioner (revenue and finance) Meghanatha Reddy said the response from the public was good. “An average of 1,000 applicants a day have come in. As per the directions of the High Court, work to issue smart carts is on in full swing,” he said.
According to officials, the first batch of 300 smart carts are expected to be launched on the beach by January-end. All 900 smart carts will be launched by March.
However, residents of fishing hamlets, who used to run shops on the Marina said they had been managing them for over three decades, and a reduction in the number of allotments to them, from 1996 to just 600, would mean a loss of livelihood.
“It was the idea of senior police officials to allow us to sell food items on the Marina. It was meant to rehabilitate fishermen and also to ensure the safety of visitors. It helped at least 500 single mothers,” said K. Bharathi of Nochikuppam.
Sashikumar of the Ayodhyakuppam Marina Beach Vendors’ Association said they had been attending meetings with Corporation officials, with no end in sight. “They say there were cartels on the beach, managing the shops. But those have all gone now. There is no business. There are associations affiliated to fishing villages and the shops are under their control,” he said.
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