Chennai: The Chennai Corporation is preparing to call for tenders for a number of works to beautify the Marina Beach. The works would include building of rows of regularised shops, bamboo enclosures for boats, high mast lights and an elevated police watchpost. The Corporation Council had earlier approved plans to this effect, and approved a fund allocation of Rs 4.84 crore towards the project.
The beautification and regularisation plans had come after the State government had passed an order transferring the management, maintenance and administration of the Marina Beach to the Chennai Corporation from the Public Works Department. “The funds have been allotted. We will be calling for tenders in a few days time. There is very little construction work. Most of it involves the installation of pre-fabricated units. So, once the work is started, it will not take too much time to complete,” Corporation Commissioner D Karthikeyan told City Express.
The Corporation’s plan is to set up a total of six rows of shops on the stretch between Anna Samadhi and Pattinapakkam. Two rows of shops will come up behind the Anna Samadhi, one row behind the Kannagi Statue, two behind the Gandhi Statue and one behind the lighthouse.
The shops are meant to replace the hundreds of temporary structures and hawkers’ pushcarts that are spread out across the entire stretch. The new structure will have tensile roofing and will be regularised. A sample of the kind of structures that will be put up for the purpose is on display close to the Gandhi Statue.
No shops or hawkers would be allowed anywhere else but these rows of shops that the Corporation is going to put up. This will make it easier to keep the beach clean and organised, said Karthikeyan. The rows of shops alone would take up the majority of the funds approved by the Corporation Council on Wednesday, raking up a bill of Rs 4.12 crore.
The Corporation will also build bamboo enclosures, at a cost of Rs 7 lakh, to house the boats of fishermen from nearby localities. “All the installations that we are planning to put up on the Marina Beach are eco-friendly. They are not in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone Rules,” said Karthikeyan.
He added that two high-mast lights would be built to increase visibility and security on the Marina. These will come up behind the Anna Swimming Pool and at Ayodhyakuppam, at a cost of Rs 59.8 lakh. The Corporation will also build a watch tower for the police at a cost of Rs 3 lakh, after consulting law enforcement officials on its ideal location. This apart, a sum of Rs 2.24 lakh would go towards erecting a gate to regulate traffic at the point where the service road joins the Kamarajar Salai.
Chennai Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy told City Express that the civic body is looking into various methods of allotting the shops to the vendors. The Corporation had, with help from local police, initially taken up the task of enumerating the number of temporary shops and hawkers on the stretch between Anna Samadhi and Pattinapakkam.
“We had to give that up. When they found out the Corporation was in the process of enumerating them, more shops kept cropping up, with people hoping to cash in. Further, there is a sort of a monopoly in the area, with five or 10 individuals owning most of the shops and extorting money. So, we are now considering the possibility of auctioning the shops,” said Duraisamy.