Shop-keepers of the mada streets of Mylapore are agitated. They have challenged the city’s civic body’s plans to relay the pavements on these streets and upgrade the public space of this heritage precinct.
Many of them said so in clear terms to Chennai Corporation officials who were attending a meeting on this issue hosted by the Mylapore Residents’ Welfare Association at Bhavans, Mylapore this morning.
While some of them accepted the idea of wide and smart pavements for people, they wondered how the civic body would check hawking encroachments on all three streets. Thy said that many hawking spaces had already taken over extra space on the streets.
Some also pointed out that the new street designs did not accommodate space for the chariots of Sri Kapali Temple and other temples to be pulled down these narrow streets.
A few residents wanted a clear cut enforcement policy by the Corporation and police to deal with hawkers. “You are building wide pavements for hawkers to improve their trade,” said one sarcastically.
The design allows also for redesigning the wiring, drain and sewer systems, for more parking lots. But participants wondered how wider pavements would allow for two-way traffic flow.
Some others suggested that tourist buses and vans be asked to drop off people/visitors at the temple zone and park in the beach area and others wanted a well-managed to visit toilet facility. “Thousands visit this area but there isn’t one good toilet,” said a resident.
Architect C S Raguram who is part of the professional team which has drawn the designs for this project that also covers Luz Church Road, where work is also on now says that the design can accommodate hawkers, pedestrians, shop-keepers and traffic needs of people here.
But many people who attended the public meeting at Bhavans may not believe him.