Thane corporator Sanjay Waghule has a system of his own to brand the black sheep in his constituency. The BJP leader has put up hoardings across a lane near Ram Maruti Road, which proclaim that anyone found drinking on the footpath in the area would have his face blackened.
Waghule claims he was compelled to adopt such extreme measures following complaints of harassment by women in the neighbourhood.
“I never had to use any force. We didn’t blacken anyone’s face. The warning has worked and we didn’t have to go against the law. These hoardings have done wonders for the people over here and all the drunkards are gone,” he added.
Waghule claims sales at beer shops in the area have dipped significantly following the action.
Shops that used to sell liquor worth Rs 5,000 every day are now doing daily business of only Rs 1,000, he said. The lane in question connects Thane (West) station to Ram Maruti Road, and is frequented by pedestrians.
Not only the corporator, but also many residents — especially women — have expressed satisfaction with the move. “It was difficult for us to talk to our kids, who while being dropped to school would ask us what these men (people drinking on the streets) were doing. We were distressed and had no option except to seek support from the local corporator who helped us. Now, the menace is all but gone,” said Sangeeta Bhise, a local resident.
Another resident of the area, on condition of anonymity, said, “We were ready to blacken the face of anyone found drinking openly on the footpath. However, after the hoardings came up we never felt the need of using any such methods. The empty beer tins and liquor bottles that used to litter the roads have disappeared. Life has become much easier.”