Vasant Dhoble, 54, the assistant commissioner of police (ACP), who made it to the headlines and has been the butt of jokes and recipient of hate messages on Twitter for his recent raids on lounges, bars and restaurants in the city, has some serious supporters.
The H-West Federation, which represents residents in Bandra, Khar and Santacruz (west), in its monthly meeting on Wednesday, passed a resolution in support of the ACP.
These are the areas where many popular watering holes and restaurants are located, and residents have been complaining for years about the nuisance and inconvenience they cause by flouting rules. They have demanded such establishments be shifted to separate entertainment zones in business districts that are mostly deserted after work hours.
"More than 40 citizens' groups that are part of this federation support Dhoble. He is only doing his duty," said Anandini Thakoor, chairperson of the Federation. "The police action is a fallout of the huge number of complaints from our areas about the nuisance these pubs and bars, located in the midst of once quiet residential areas, create."
Dhoble's checks to ensure the establishments maintain time and crowd restrictions are justified, the resolution said. "When there are more people, there is pressure on infrastructure such as parking and toilets. This leads to traffic issues and creates problems for residents, especially during emergencies. People throw bottles filled with urine and condoms around the premises as the toilets are full," said Manuela Saldhana, secretary, Revival ALM on 27th Road, Bandra, which has taken up the issue. "We have lodged complaints of people coming out with liquor glasses."
The resolution said exceeding time deadlines means that the traffic chaos and noise pollution extend longer into the night. "We are not moral minders and are not against the owners or patrons. But most of these places are operating without the required 27 sanctions. And we don't want them in the middle of our neighbourhoods," Thakoor said.