New LISHA chairman infuses young blood into committee

Regunarth Thyagarajan, LISHA Chairman

Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA) has a new chairman.


Regunarth s/o Thyagarajan, 44, who took over as interim chairman in October 2022, has now formally taken over the reins at LISHA, with effect from 28 May 2023.


Together with his election, he brought in nine new faces into the committee, eight of whom are below the age of 50. CEO of Sree Narayana Mission, S Devendran, is the ninth new face in the 25-strong committee.


Said Regunarth: “We need more youth to come and start businesses in Little India, and a more youthful committee will be accordingly appropriate to drive that.”


He added: “A lot of Indian businesses are dying, with nobody to take over them. Many of today’s young people, in particular graduates, do not want to do business in Little India.”


Besides bringing in younger committee members, LISHA is also reaching out to university clubs, to try and inculcate the importance and to highlight to them the potentially lucrative rewards in starting a business at Little India.    


Currently, a director with Jothi Impex, Regunarth spent seven years in New Zealand as the marketing director of a multinational company. He returned to Singapore in 2008.


He specified a range of problems that Little India’s businesses currently face, including rat infestations, lack of carparks, and sewage problems. Additionally, he highlighted that the lack of loading bays in any part of Little India, save for Tekka Market, is an inconvenience to businesses as well as a cause of traffic jams.


LISHA is currently in discussions with relevant government agencies to try and address these issues. However, he bemoaned that while there have been a lot of discussions, there has been little success to date, in solving them.


LISHA is reaching out to university clubs, to try and inculcate the importance and to highlight to them the potentially lucrative rewards in starting a business at Little India.   


Another major challenge that Regunarth is focused on is that of increasing the footfall into Little India. Pre-pandemic, Little India used to be a major gathering place for migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent. When COVID-19 came, neighbourhood provision shops catering to the Indian community sprouted all across Singapore. In addition, shopping amenities near the dormitories were also developed. The net effect of the above has been that Indian migrant workers have not needed to travel far from their dormitories.


However, Regunarth hopes to reattract migrant workers back to Little India by bussing them to the area and creating interesting activities for them, similar to what was undertaken during the Pongal festival. During Pongal, as many as 2,000 migrant workers were bussed to Little India, where they took part in activities such as Tirukkural reciting and yoga for half a day and then were free to go around Little India before they took the bus back to their dormitories. 


“Migrant workers play a major role in the sustainability of businesses in Little India,” Regunarth said. “Their visits to little India bring about a diverse role of purchasing which will be extremely beneficial for the businesses,” he added.


LISHA Committee members

1Mr. Regunarth (Siva)                                    Chairman
2Mr Om Prakash                        First Vice Chairman 
3Ms Rajalakshmi Kannappan                       Second Vice Chairman
4Mr. P Ruthirapathy                           Hon Secretary
5Mr V Ramamurthy       Assistant Hon Secretary 
6Mr V Selvam              Hon Treasurer 
7Mr Shaik Fakrudeen              Assistant Hon Treasurer 
8Mr Rajakumar Chandra            Senior Advisor 
9Mr R J Selvam             Advisor 
10Mr S Devendran *Advisor 
11Ms Joyce Kingsly Advisor 
12Ms Chitra Devi             Exco member
13Mr P Arunachalam             Exco member
14Mr A Mathivanan *Exco member
15Mr Sudhan *Exco member
16Mr Mohd Shahiduzzaman *Exco member
17Mr Karthigayan Venkatesan *Exco member
18Mr Keerthi Rajendran *Exco member
19Mr Selvah Rajoo (David) *Exco member
20Mr Redhy Bala Murugan *Exco member
21Mr A Selvakumar             Exco member
22Mr Karthikeyan R Krishnamurthy              Exco member
23Ms Vivienne Soon                         Exco member
24Mr P Ramanathan *Exco member
25Ms Gayathri Sharma             Exco member

* New members


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  1. Thank you to SGIndian for such a great write up . The new team at Lisha under Mr Siva’s leadership and guidance of Mr Rajakumar has already started work on Deepavali 2023 ! We are hoping to include new fringe events and bring the crowd to Little India precinct and keep them there longer . Thank you