Activists say project will change the very character of the venue
Under Food-on-Wheels, mobile food courts will come up on the 200-metre stretch from 7 p.m. to 2 p.m. at night to tempt people’s palates and make it a gourmet street.
However, the initiative has been criticised for undermining the very concept of the Veedhi, which was declared a cultural street way back in 2001.
D. Reghoothaman, co-founder of the Abhinaya theatre group, says a number of programmes, including plays, folk songs, and film screenings, are held on the Veedhi by like-minded organisations under the aegis of the Manaveeyam Theruvora Koottam.
“We are not against a gourmet street. But it should be separate from a cultural street. Alternative venues should be found for allowing food trucks,” he says.
He also says that though the idea was to hold cultural programmes at night, no fund allocation has been made for it. “Fourteen years of cultural interaction will disappear,” he says.
Denying food to those who come to the Veedhi is not the idea, they say. Mr. Reghoothaman says the initial proposal was to rope in Kudumbasree women but it has been amended. “Allowing organisations such as those of the physically challenged or the marginalised would also have been fine, as the aim is not just profit.”
Mr. Reghoothaman also says that most programmes extend till 10 at night. But if the trucks reach by 7 p.m., they will be forced to vacate the space early.
Now, women are present on the Veedhi till the programmes conclude. But if it takes on a commercial character, it will not remain safe for women, they say.
They also say they haven’t been called for talks or discussions on the issue.
Source : The Hindu , 7th Nov 2015