Friday, September 5, 2008

Shop space

Ever since the Usman Road flyover was announced, there has been a tug-of-war between the residents of the streets nearby and the hawkers who had had their stalls on the pavements along Usman Road. Being easily mobile, the hawkers had tried to take up space along some of the roads leading into Usman Road. That riled residents, who had for long traded the inconvenience of entering through a packed Usman Road for the ease of shopping (not to mention the rising value of property, on paper) in the comfort that, even though the approach was chaotic, their street was calm. With the side streets already being used as public parking areas, chaos had reached their doorstep and the prospect of their walls being used as display shelves by the hawkers was the last straw.

In the days after the flyover was inaugurated, the Madras High Court has been kept busy: each time the Corporation proposed a new location - in one of the side streets - the residents have rushed to the Court, seeking a stay on the move; predictably, no one seems happy with any of the suggestions. Tempers are running high; no one has any solution. Sample this; one day last month, the police helped the Corporation officials enforce the movement of hawkers onto Pinjala Subramanian Street and then warned them not to open for business, fearing the wrath of the residents. The ward councillor too beat a quick retreat when he found that, as the sole representative of authority, he was being targetted by anyone who was agitated.

These bundles remain, seemingly marking a grudging truce - storing okay, selling not - between the residents and the hawkers. And the powers that be continue to ponder over a situation that does not seem to have a satisfactory resolution!


LVISS said...

The hawkers are both problem for residents and blessing for those who want to buy things cheaply. India ,I read somewhere ,is the country with the maximum number of self employed persons. When u walk in TNagar u will agree with this . But the real problem is the place where the hawkers choose to spread their permanently temporary establishments.

Shantaram said...

>> Ravindran>> I like that 'permanently temporary' bit!