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Metro work gives Mylapore hawkers the jitters -They fear they will be asked to shift

Mylapore hawkers
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Chennai: Covid-19 hit pavement vendors in Luz corner have a new worry. They fear that the recovery seen in sales will be short-lived as construction work of Chennai Metro Railway Network is all set to begin.

Vendors hope the festive season will improve their sales which has been down for the last 19 months.

Saquid Salim, an artificial jewellery shack owner said, “I am sacred that I will lose my livelihood,” the government would remove our platform shops as the construction for the Chennai Metro is expected soon.
Currently he earns over Rs. 2,000 per day, he used to earn half of it before the pandemic, said the New College student.

Abdul Rashekh, a garment shack owner, said he incurred a loss of Rs. 3,000 as rats damaged the clothes while the shop was closed during the lockdown in the second wave of the pandemic. Earlier he said he had a good, regular income, but now it’s irregular and adds up to around Rs. 15,000 a month. “The customer who used to buy six-seven garments earlier now just buys one or two,” he added.

S Mohammad Ansari, owner of Jubeda matching shop, said the lockdown has been very difficult as he took a lot of loans at high interest to survive and pay the salary of the people who work with him. He wasn’t able to pay EMIs and struggled for two months to pay house rent.

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He said he bought fewer things for his shop so he won’t fall into debt and that’s how he is trying to survive. “Construction of pillars for Chennai Metro will hit business as there will be traffic jams while digging for the construction,” he added.

Yusuf Khan, union leader of Anna Luz Sirukadaai Vayapari Sangam, said there are a total of 154 shacks and if Chennai Corporation asks them to remove their shacks, they will be in deep trouble. They claim these shacks are almost 30-40 years old. Shack owners will ask them for a proper space to shift their shacks, otherwise they will go to court and file a case as they have licences for their shops and a union to fight for it.

Chennai metro phase 2 runs 26 k.m from Lighthouse to Poonamallee linking central areas like Marina, Mylapore, Kodambakkam, Nandanam, T Nagar, Vadapalani, Saligramam as well as IT hubs at Porur and suburban localities up to Poonamallee.
The second tender was to build twin tunnels and underground stations over 4.8km at Kodambakkam Flyover, Kodambakkam, Panagal Park, Nandanam and Boat Club.
In the last two tenders for phase-2, bids were invited for constructing twin tunnels over 5.15km with underground stations at Lighthouse, Kutchery Road, Alwarpet and Bharathidasan Road.

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