Chennai, March 19: Hawkers around the Thyagaraja Nagar Bus Terminus are facing difficulties conducting their business as officials of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) are trying to move them out.
“Unauthorized hawkers hinder the movement of pedestrians outside bus terminals in Parry’s and T Nagar causing traffic jams,” said P. Mohammed Saleem, General Manager (Projects), MTC.
In November 2015, the state government passed an order for local bodies to implement the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act 2014 and also form a committee to look after the urban street vendors.
“This committee once constituted, would have to enumerate hawkers in the city, give them identity cards and earmark free zones, demarcate hawking zones and no hawking zones. But since the model code of conduct for the assembly election has come in place, the plan is on hold,” added Saleem.
Tamil Selvarajam, Asst. Director, Public Relation, MTC said that these hawkers who were mostly engaged in selling fruits, vegetables and small household articles were causing a hindrance to the movement of commuters and also hampering the operation of bus services.
Karuppuchamy (71), who sells fruits on the pavement just outside T. Nagar Bus Terminus, said that the police took steps against the hawkers based on complaints from MTC officials.
Sixty-year-old Bansali Chakori sells flowers outside the small temple on South Usman Road in T. Nagar. She complained that the police mishandled her and told her to leave the spot where she did her business.
“The police told me there was traffic because of us. I sell flowers far from the temple. Very few people are buying my flowers,” added Chakori.
A commuter who was about to board the bus from the Terminus, said “Because the election is round the corner, hawkers are unlikely to see any harsh treatment, a committee should see to it that it protects public space and keeps the interest of pedestrians and livelihood of vendors in mind.” said.
Vijayaraj, who sells fruits right outside the Bus Terminus, said “The police can only fine us and force us to set up our stall elsewhere, but they cannot do anything to the number of auto’s standing here. Don’t they cause any traffic problem?”