Kamakhya ushers in annual festival, with annual cannabis problem

District tobacco control nodal officer Samiran Barua on Monday imposed fines on two persons under COTPA (Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act) for smoking in public places. 

The five-day Ambubachi Mela began in the Kamakhya temple here from Monday, bringing with it the footfalls as well as the bhang abuse.

Authorities remain unsure how to control rampant consumption of bhang — as cannabis leaves in smoke form are known in Assam — by thousands of sadhus and sanyasis who have arrived from all over the country despite laws banning such consumption.

The Ambubachi Mela, which also marks the Hindu belief of annual menstruation of the Mother Goddess — the ruling deity here — as also Mother Earth, draws several lakh devotees, with the authorities this time expecting about eight lakh. The temple doors will remain shut for four days with devotees waiting until the reopening on Thursday.

“Clamping down on...

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