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

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