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Kamakhya declared tobacco-free zone

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 9 - The entire Kamakhya temple premises atop Nilachal Hills have been declared as a tobacco-free zone by the Kamakhya Devalaya Committee, the body which administers temple proceedings.

The temple committee has started the drive from January 1 this year and also served notices to all the shopkeepers and vendors not to indulge in the sale of any kind of tobacco within the temple premises, which includes a major portion of the Nilachal Hills.

Bhupesh Sarma, joint secretary of the Kamakhya Devalaya Committee said that the idea is to make the temple premises � be it the parking lot or other areas � a safe place to step in.

�As the Kamakhya temple is a historic destination, it is our duty to keep it clear and tobacco-free. During the course of Ambubachi Mela too, we would enforce the rules with help of the district administration,� Sarma said.

He said that as the temple draws lakhs of devotees every year during Ambubachi, it would be difficult to enforce the restrictions without the support of the district administration.

Last year too, the sadhus congregating from various parts of India during Ambubachi Mela were asked not to smoke marijuana and other forms of tobacco during the Mela.

Samiran Baruah, nodal officer, tobacco control cell, who first initiated the move to make the historic temple a tobacco-free zone, said, �Such a move has to be appreciated and the strict enforcement of the guidelines must be ensured. The tobacco control cell would extend all possible help in this regard.�

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